Ormolu mounted ebonised wood Boulle marquetry desk

Style of Boulle, André-Charles (French, 1642-1732)

£24,000

Crafted from ebonised wood mounted with ormolu and veneered with brass inlaid tortoiseshell, this writing desk is a magnificent example of Boulle style craftsmanship.

 

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Description

This rectangular desk is wrought from ormolu (gilt bronze) mounted ebonised wood. Most remarkably, the surfaces of the desk are profusely veneered with tortoiseshell inlaid with brass. Such refined marquetry is known as ‘Boulle’ or ‘Boullework’ after the celebrated 17th and 18th Century ébéniste André-Charles Boulle.

The desk is raised by four cabriole legs, each leg terminating in an ormolu foliate scroll sabot. The ormolu sabot runs narrowly along the outer curved edge of the leg, joining a large ormolu grotesque mask that adorns the top of each leg. The legs support the tabletop, below which is a shaped apron, while to the front of the desk is inset a large frieze drawer.

Throughout the desk, the surfaces are profusely veneered with tortoiseshell—whether the surfaces of the legs, the apron, or the writing surface of the tabletop. Moreover, this tortoiseshell is finished with première-partie marquetry, wherein the tortoiseshell is inlaid with another material, in this instance almost exclusively brass. The brass inlays are exceptionally ornate throughout, featuring wonderful scrolling arabesques and foliate forms. The tabletop is particularly detailed: the brass inlay has been wrought into figures, architectural elements, and a variety of geometrical motifs. The result is remarkably rich and detailed surface.

In addition to the Boulle marquetry, the desk is adorned with wonderfully cast and finished ormolu mounts: the apron is mounted with grotesque masks and the drawer front with a duo of cherubim. The glistening ormolu, in combination with the marvellously detailed marquetry, grant this writing desk a truly remarkable character.

Details

Artist / Maker
Style of Boulle, André-Charles (French, 1642-1732)
Country of Origin
French
Date of Manufacture
19th Century
Period
19th Century
Style
Boulle, Neoclassical
Material
Brass, Ebonised Wood, Marquetry, Ormolu (Gilt Bronze), Tortoiseshell
Colour
Black, Gold, Multi-coloured, Red

Dimensions

Height
71 cm / 28 inches
Width
97 cm / 38.2 inches
Depth
58 cm / 22.8 inches

Reference:
15643

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