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Made by: Jean-Francois Oeben

On view in: French Drawing Room

About this object

This table, covered with floral marquetry of great delicacy, is an excellent example of the creation of new furniture forms in the eighteenth century to satisfy the demands of a sophisticated clientele who aspired to a life of increasing comfort and privacy. This table could function both as a reading desk and as a dressing table. Its pull-out drawer is fitted with a reading desk that, when turned, displays a mirror. Several compartments for writing implements and cosmetics complete the interior. It is attributed to Jean-François Oeben, who became cabinetmaker to Louis XV, and whose pupil, Jean-Henri Riesener, would later occupy the same post under Louis XVI.

The table is rectangular in shape with serpentine sides, and is supported on four cabriole legs, mounted with acanthus motifs at the knees, and sabots at the bottom ends. Under the front rail is a trick lock mechanism which opens the front drawer to reveal a writing pad; this lifts up and becomes a reading desk; when turned over it displays a mirror. At either side of the writing pad is a marquetry panel, both of which are hinged and lift up. Under the right panel are compartments for writing materials, and a panel in the bottom slides back to reveal a secret compartment. Under the left panel is a whole drawer that when lifted displays another secret section. The top, sides, back and drawers are all covered with profuse floral marquetry, partitioned by curving ribbon-like bands. The central cartouche at the top is decorated with several symbols of rustic life including a rake, a watering jug, a basket of flowers, and a hoe, topped by two floral swags, suspended from a ribbon with two birds perched on them. This is surrounded by four cartouches with trelliswork. The emblem of war on the left contains a helmet, a shield, a quiver, and a halberd. Motifs of rustic life - a straw hat, a staff, a backet, a horn, and some flowers - fill the right one. A smaller hunting trophy at the top consists of a hunting horn, a rifle, a quiver, a dead bird, and a stag's head.

Object name:
Made from:
Wood marquetry; tulipwood (interior) -- gilt bronze
Made in:
Paris, France
Date made:
ca. 1760-1770
72.4 × 80 × 43.8 cm (28 1/2 × 31 1/2 × 17 1/4 in.)

Detailed information for this item

Catalog number:
Signature marks:
STAMP Boichod Underneath STAMP L U G/C.. On the green leather writing pad Partial stamp
Credit line:
Bequest of Marjorie Merriweather Post, 1973
Featured in publication:
"French Furniture from the Collection of Hillwood Museum & Gardens","A Taste for Splendor: Russian Imperial and European Treasures from the Hillwood Museum"