This magnificent writing desk was manufactured by the English firm Edwards & Roberts. The wood is stamped ‘Edwards & Roberts’ and a label is affixed to the interior of one drawer reading ‘Edwards & Roberts / 148-160 / Wardour St., / 532, Oxford St., / London.’ The model for this desk is a series of celebrated examples by the German-born ébéniste Jean-Henri Riesener, who worked in Paris during the late 18th Century, creating furniture for the French Royal Family. Examples of this type of desk were almost certainly produced exclusively for use by the Royal Family—one fine example is presently held by the Philadelphia Museum.
The desk is topped by a three-quarter ormolu gallery decorated with pierced ovoloes, the gallery encompassing the trelliswork parquetry tabletop. The body of the desk contains a frontal pull-out, leather-topped writing slide and a drawer to either side—the drawer to the right fitting with compartments for holding various writing implements. The sides of the body are mounted with exquisitely cast ormolu mounts, which take the forms of intertwined foliate rinceaux motifs and a variety of other floral forms. The desk is supported by four octagonal tapering legs finished with ormolu banding, each leg terminating in a foliate sabot and a toupie foot.
This desk represents a piece of considerable interest given its association with the celebrated English furniture markers Edward & Roberts and its compositional heritage in works by Riesener.