Exceptional flat desk in ebony
Paris, Circa 1720, French Regency Period
Depth 81cm Width 168cm Height 77,5cm
From the end of the reign of Louis XIV, black desks decorated with golden bronzes became the mark of power and success in Paris. Perfectly adapted to the Boulle marquetry which appeared in the last third of the 17th century, these desks were manufactured with very different levels of quality, depending on the client. The very high price of ebony imported by boat, will lead cabinetmakers to provide desks in blackened pearwood, or other blackened fruit wood; ebony remained reserved for a very wealthy clientele. Design and cabinet making work also varied greatly, ranging from simple, often "stiff" desks, made in thousands of pieces, to the most elaborate desks, with lines created especially to meet specific requests. Finally, the bronzes of these desks vary completely: from simple ornementations, made almost in series in the 18th century, to bronzes with unique designs, whose rich chasing and gilding give an idea of the staggering cost of a desk like ours in 1720.
This desk opens with a central drawer and four side drawers divided into two small pedestals. It is veneered with the most beautiful ebony, still today more than 95% original. The desk was designed to be placed in the middle of a room, decorated in an absolutely identical way on the two large sides; for this purpose, 5 drawers are simulated to perfection on the large non-opening side.
The designer of this desk wanted to give an effect of richness and at the same time purity. Unlike many black desks, this one is not decorated with any copper mesh. The quality of the ebony and bronzes is sufficient for the powerful contrast of gold and pure black.
Note the recessed central drawer which allows the user more comfort, but required additional work from the cabinetmaker. Another advantage of this recess is that it allows the positioning of superb gold bronze scraps that flank the drawer and give rhythm to the desk line. In addition, the complex shape of the drawers was a notable technical difficulty in 1720. Finally, the curve of the legs, discreet and harmonious, shows that the client wished to have a desk "in the style of the day": The curves and curves that were to become more pronounced during the Louis XV period were indeed in their infancy during the Regency period in France.
The rectangular top is sheathed with a leather back from the Lemerle house. Superb leather dyed to measure, and decorated with small irons and gold leaf. The leather is encircled with a bronze ingot mould, of origin.
This desk has a remarkable bronze ornamentation. The chasing is very assertive for the time, and extremely rare, the gilding is original. This desk kept in the same family for many generations has not suffered from what unfortunately the vast majority of 18th century furniture has suffered: the gilding altered by oxidation has very often been cleaned with unsuitable products that have destroyed it. We have photographed and filmed the cleaning process of the bronzes in this office: Under the oxidation and soiling of 300 years, the original intact gilding reappears.
Among the bronzes: leafy clogs, gadrooned and acanthus leafed scraps, lock entries, drooping hands, corner scraps with the effigy of a Bacchus head and a lion's head, side rosettes... Perfectly structuring the line of the desk, the 5 drawers, the 5 simulated drawers and the two small sides are all adorned with finely chiselled and gilded bronze frames.
THE DESK IS MOUNTED ON A FIR TREE, THE LEGS IN OAK, THE VENEER IN EBONY, AND WALNUT WOOD inside the drawers. EXCELLENT STATE OF CONSERVATION, COMPLETE RESTORATION, PHOTOS AVAILABLE ON REQUEST.
18 000 €
Price : on request
30 000 €
Price : on request