French 18th Century Large Louis XVI Marquetry Desk or Bureau à Cylindre
An exceptional marquetry secrétaire in the form of a bureau with a cylinder front and on a stand with four rectangular tapering legs. In the upper part is a sliding shelf lined with red felt which can be pulled out after the cylinder front has been raised and locked with a key to remain in the open position. The cylinder front discloses a cabinet of five drawers (one of them can be locked with a key) and two shelfs. Underneath the writing compartment the desk contains six drawers which can all be secured by a lock, thus rendering it suitable for storing personal effects and, especially, private correspondence. The bureau or desk is topped by two more lockable drawers and a wooden marquetry top.
The whole surface is decorated inside and outside in marquetry comprising tulipwood, harewood, boxwood, dyed wood and other woods. The cylinder front displaying a herringbone marquetry with a central oval ribboned flower medaillon. The drawer section shows a remarkable and unique multi-colored zig zag marquetry, whereas the top section is decorated by an elaborate and very detailed marquetry consisting of trompe l’oeil fluting, foliage banding and trelliswork. The sides are decorated accordingly. The origin of this work is thought to be located in Eastern France based on design features such as the very straight shape and the use of an abundance of geometrical and banding ornamentation together with central flower medaillon. Close in style is the ebenist or cabinet maker Jean-Henri Kisling of Lyon (listed in the archives of 1778, 1779 and 1790).
Literature: Bernard Deloche, Jean Yves Mornand: L’Ébénisterie Provinciale en France au XIIIe Siècle et Abraham Couleru, Dijon 2011, p. 75 (cylinder bureau J.-H. Kisling).
Condition: very good, min. wear consistent with age and use, French polish refreshed – detailed condition report on request