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Bureau Plat, 18th-19th Centuries

Symbolic of the renewal of 18th century decorative arts, the bureau plat appears at the end of the reign of Louis XIV. Also called a table à écrire or "writing table", it puts the emphasis on marquetry, on ebony or mahogany veneering, and on finely crafted and gilded bronze. During the Régence period, it was typically of blackened pear wood, enhanced with marquetry and gilded bronzes on the handles and locks. The curve of its underframe flourished during the Louis XV style period.

The writing comfort of the 18th century bureau plat imparted a key furniture status. Under Louis XVI, it retained the shaft or spun legs, and the flat, column-shaped or bevelled-cornered posts. In mahogany and mahogany veneer, the Empire-style bureau plat is more solid. Its legs may be linked by a crossbar. The Restoration-style 19th century bureau plat meanwhile, comprises tapered, baluster and banded legs.