H: 54 in / 137 cm | W: 32 in / 81 cm | D: 17 in / 43 cmDescription
Constructed in amboyna, dressed with ‘Sevres’ porcelain plaques and gilt bronze mounts; rising from tapering circular legs, inlaid with brass, having bronze bases and capitols, and conjoined with an interlaced stretcher; the shaped apron , having a circular porcelain plaque and bronze foliates, houses a single cedar lined drawer, spring released by a concealed button; over, the secretaire, the drop flap fitted with a French lock, has a square bronze framed Sevres plaque, hand painted with roses within a ‘bleu celeste’ and gilt reserve, and extensive entrelac foliates, opens to reveal a fiddle back satinwood interior, fitted with an arrangement of three upper short drawers, and a lower single drawer, fitted with ring pulls; gilt bronze caryatids, in the form of festooned Grecian maids bearing baskets of flowers flank the fall-front, and the panelled sides are set with stiff leaf gilt bronze castings, and over, a thumb nail moulded white marble top is dressed with a three quarter arcaded bronze gallery.
France, Circa 1870
Christie Manson & Wood sale of pieces from the late Edward Huntley Walker and Edward Wertheimer collection, 1932, lot 43
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has in its collection a similar secrétaire à abattant attributed to Weisweiler, circa 1787 (accession no. 58.75.57). It is presumed that this was piece was originally located at Versailles and owned by Marie-Antoinette. After the angry mobs stormed Versailles in 1789, the royal family lived under house arrest in the Chateau des Tuileries. During this time the queen consigned her treasured possessions for safekeeping. An inventory of 1794 indicating royal seized furniture records a ‘secretary with drop front, mounted with a large Sèvres plaque and ten medallions forming garlands.’
Our escritoire is of similar form to the model in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, particularly with the loop form stretcher and gilt cluster colonettes, and decorative design of the central large blue Sèvres plaque and ten gilt medallions. Another very similar escritoire is illustrated on pp 29 of Segoura’s ‘Weisweiler’, cf.
Born in Neuwied, and believed to have served his apprenticeship under the tutelage of one the greatest of all German cabinet makers, David Roentgen, he established himself at 67 Rue du Faubourg-Sainte-Antoine in the reign of Louis XVIth, obtaining Royal Commisions from the Queen for the Chateau St. Cloud. Madame de Pompadour and her brother, the Marquis de Marigny encouraged his adoption of the restrained gout anglais. Features that were repeated in his oeuvres were the loop form stretcher, and the cluster colonettes.
Lierature; ‘Weisweiler’ by Segoura et Lemonnier, Paris 1983
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