Cuban mahogany cylinder office desk
Signed Fidelis Schey, master in Paris in 1777
Circa 1780, Louis XVI Period
H. 110cm x W. 112cm x D. 56 cm
The cylinder desk appears at the end of the Louis XV Period, but it reaches its peak in the Louis XVI Period. The greatest cabinetmakers put all their talent to produce this type of desk which was all the rage at the end of the 18th century. In 1769, Riesener supplied the cylinder desk of Stanislas Leczinski; it is kept in the Wallace collection in London. Earlier, Oeben had produced for King Louis XV what was probably the first model of a cylinder desk, now kept in the Palace of Versailles.
The cylinder desk is designed to provide a larger working area than a secretary. Compared to a flat desk, or a desk with pedestals, the cylinder desk makes it possible to hide the disorder, or secrets, when a visitor was announced. This advantage remains today, this piece of furniture is both functional and very decorative.
The French furniture at the time of Louis XVI is marked by the important use of mahogany. Mahogany is a variety of wood whose origin is essential: Cuban mahogany is undoubtedly the most beautiful mahogany, with invisible veins, a honey color and a magnificent grain. There were mahogany sub-varieties, speckled mahogany, flamed mahogany, grain, etc. In the late 18th century, Cuba began to regulate the export of its mahogany. From the empire, mahogany was imported from Santo Domingo or other Caribbean islands, but the quality was not quite the same. Later and still today, mahogany comes mainly from Africa. These very veined mahogany with a light and uniform color no longer have anything to do with Cuban mahogany.
We know of 3 cabinetmakers who, in the second part of the 18th century, used mahogany overwhelmingly: Canabas, Avril and Schey. The furniture of Fidelis Schey is rare because this cabinetmaker died at the age of 40. His production is very careful, very pure. He chose the most beautiful mahogany, and had bronze trimmings made, often discreet but very finely chiselled and gilded. Our desk bears the stamp of Fidelis Schey, but also that of Richter who, in addition to being a cabinetmaker, was also a merchant of exceptional pieces until the first empire.
Our cylinder desk opens in a belt with a large central drawer, on the right a pedestal, and on the left two drawers without crossbar imitating a pedestal. On the sides, two large drawers allow to increase the working surface. The opening of the cylinder reveals a sliding top covered with brown leather, with above a large locker surmounted by 3 small drawers and 3 simulated drawers. Above the cylinder, 3 drawers are topped with a white marble surrounded by a beautiful gilded bronze openwork gallery.
The desk rests on round, tapered and fluted uprights, which extend above the cylinder and the upper drawers.
The bronze garniture is both rich and balanced. The eleven frames, lock shoes and escutcheons, handles and knobs, as well as the openwork gallery, are finely chiseled and gilded, highlighting the beauty of the mahogany. It should be noted that all the locks are original. There are "Clover" locks, the nec plus ultra of the time for this type of lock. We have only one key (original) for this piece of furniture.
This desk is in very good state of conservation, perfectly restored. It has no replaced parts, and the restoration is nothing else than use and maintenance. The leathers are new. The structure is in oak, like inside the drawers.
Price : on request
Price : on request