• Paris, c. 1773
  • Oak and exotic woods, gilt bronze, velvet 
  • Inv. 2082

Rolltop desk

Jean-Henri Riesener

This cylinder desk, with lines that date from the time of Louis XV, has some decorative elements that are already Louis XVI in style. Besides the elegant lines, the bronze candelabra, superbly chased and gilded, in the rocaille style and, above all, the remarkable marquetry in which the combination of the various types of wood, allied with the masterly execution, gives the illusion of an actual painting.

The top made up of narrow, articulated slats of wood, rolls into the back of the desk, displaying an interior made up of a pull-out slide, lined with black velvet, with two shelves at the back flanked by drawers.

This work was made for the apartments of the Comtesse de Provence, the sister-in-law of Louis XVI, and wife of the future Louis XVII, in the palace of Versailles, by Jean-Henri Riesener, who was to be designated ‘Cabinet Maker in Ordinary to the Crown Furniture’.

Versailles Palace (comtesse de Provence’s apartments), Marly and Tuilleries (Mme Elizabeth); Lord Palmer; Baron Rudolf Goldschmidt-Rothschild. Acquired by Calouste Gulbenkian through Mme Petrocochino, Frankfurt, September 1931.

H. 127 cm; W. 125 cm; D. 62 cm 

Verlet 1969

Pierre Verlet, Objets d’art français de la Collection Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbonne, 1969, n.p., no. 5.

Verlet 1990

Pierre Verlet, Le mobilier royal français du XVIIIe siècle. IV – Meubles de la Couronne conservés en Europe et aux États-unis. Paris: Picard, 1990, p. 75–6. 

Goffen 1995

Rona Goffen (ed.), Museums Discovered. The Calouste Gulbenkian Museum. Fort Lauderdale, Florida: Woobine Books, 1995, p. 86–7.

Castellucio 1996

Stéphane Castellucio, Le Château de Marly sous le règne de Louis XVI. Paris: Réunion des musées nationaux, 1996, p. 36–7.

Lisbon 1999

A Arte do Retrato. Quotidiano e Circunstância, exhibition catalogue. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, 1999, p. 142–3, no. 51.

Coutinho 1999

Maria Isabel Pereira Coutinho, 18th-Century French Furniture. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, 1999, p. 215–20, no. 22.

Versailles 2000

Chefs-d’oeuvre du musée Gulbenkian de Lisbonne. Meubles et objets royaux du XVIIIe siècle français, exhibition catalogue. Versailles: Châteaux de Versailles et Trianon, 2000, p. 64–9, no. 18.

Lisbon 2001

Calouste Gulbenkian Museum. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, 2001, p. 138–9, cat. 115.

Updated on 08 june 2022

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