Antique ormolu mounted bonheur du jour by Winckelsen

By Winckelsen, Charles-Guillame (French, 1812-1871)


After a famous 18th century design, this cleverly constructed bonheur du jour is filled with many storage compartments and writing surfaces.


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This elegant bonheur du jour was crafted by Charles-Guillaume Winckelsen (French, 1812-1871) in 1864. He specialised in very high quality Louis XVI style pieces such as the desk in Mayfair Gallery’s collection. Also known as a ladies’ writing desk, the design of the piece is after a model by Adam Weisweiler (German, 1744-1820) whose pieces were acquired by royalty such as Queen Marie Antoinette and George IV.

The desk is topped by an elegant pierced galleried top mounted with white marble. Its design is like the shelf below the main carcass, where the bright colouring of the stone is superbly highlighted by the ormolu detailing. Below, with a twist of a key, an unusual set of doors open to reveal a spacious storage compartment. The design of the slender cabinet makes it seem as if there are three doors, however, the clever construction only includes one short panel door as well as a long, hinged twin panel door. Each panel is framed in an ormolu border. The desktop apart from ormolu edging, is also framed by subtle line marquetry, a design feature repeated on several surfaces of the antique.

In the frieze below, the long secretaire drawer opens to reveal a selection of further storage compartments and writing surfaces. Four drawers with ormolu handles are placed above an extendable green leather-lined writing surface.

Four reeded baluster-shaped legs extend towards the bottom shelf, while the whole construction is supported by four fluted tapering toupie feet, each one ending with ormolu sabots.

The underside of the bonheur du jour is stamped ‘CHLES WINCKELSEN / 21 Rue St Louis / (AU MARAIS)’, and a further stamp alongside the date ‘1864’ can be found under the upper rectangular top.

After a famous 18th century model, this antique desk would be a magnificent addition to the appropriate interior space, especially one with limited space.


Previously sold at Christie’s, New York, 18 April 2013, Lot 343 ($25,000).


Artist / Maker
By Winckelsen, Charles-Guillame (French, 1812-1871)
Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
19th Century
Louis XVI
Leather, Mahogany, Marble, Ormolu (Gilt Bronze)
Brown, Gold


105 cm / 41.3 inches
73 cm / 28.7 inches
42 cm / 16.5 inches


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