Louis XVI style ormolu mounted parquetry roll-top desk by Kahn

By Ed. Kahn & Cie (French, c.1905-1950)


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This mahogany roll-top desk, or ‘bureau a cylindre’, stands on four ormolu (gilt bronze) feet which are decorated with square floral motifs and twisted fluting. The desk's ormolu legs take the form of term sculptures which are linked by an entwined stretcher. 

The legs support three drawers. The two outer drawers are fronted with parquetry panels within ormolu frames and they feature keyholes within ormolu wreath-shaped escutcheons. The central drawer is decorated with an ormolu relief plaque which depicts a group of putti at play.

These drawers are surmounted by a cylindrical cover which features a parquetry front edged with ormolu bead-and-reel bands, rosettes and an outer border. This cover is mounted with a decorative ormolu flower swag and two ormolu handles in the shape of acanthus leaves. It is lockable by way of an ormolu key which fits into a keyhole with a floral ormolu escutheon. The corners of the desk’s cover are decorated with ormolu acanthus leaves and foliage trails.

This cover rolls up to reveal a pull-out leather-topped writing desk. There are also six small drawers (arranged as two rows of three) and an open compartment for storing letters or writing equipment. Above the roll-top are three drawers which are framed by ormolu beading. The central drawer is mounted with two ormolu wreath-shaped ring handles and the outer drawers feature ormolu knobs with foliate flourishes. The desk is topped by a veined white marble surface which is set within a pierced ormolu gallery.

‘E. Kahn’ is stamped onto the desk. Edward Kahn was an important cabinetmaker who was active in the early-mid 20th Century. Kahn was well-known for his furniture which was fashioned after famous 18th-Century models by Weisweiler, Benneman, Stockel, Gaudreaus and Cressent. His company was based in both Paris—on the rue Saint-Bernard and avenue Ledru-Rollin—and London, on Saint-Andrew Street, Charlotte Street and Gough Street. It is recorded that Kahn knew François Linke, a leading ébéniste in Paris in the late-19th and early-20th Centuries.


See 'Paris Furniture: The Luxury Market of the 19th Century' by Christopher Payne, 2018, page 405 for a biography of Ed. Kahn & Cie.


Artist / Maker
By Ed. Kahn & Cie (French, c.1905-1950)
Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
Early 20th Century
Louis XVI, Neoclassical
Mahogany, Marble, Ormolu (Gilt Bronze), Parquetry
Brown, Gold


110 cm / 43.3 inches
92 cm / 36.2 inches
58 cm / 22.8 inches


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