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Desk

  • Place of origin:

    London (possibly, made)
    Paris (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    1800-1820 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oak, pine and mahogany veneered with plain mahogany and 'plum pudding' mahogany; gilt bronze mounts, painted porcelain and Carrara marble

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by John Jones

  • Museum number:

    1098:1 to 5-1882

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

In 1882 John Jones, a keen collector of French decorative arts from the period 1700-1800, left his collection to the Museum. Many pieces were magnificent, but the study of French furniture was just beginning, and some of his pieces have since proved to be later copies or versions. Our current opinion of this desk is that it started life between 1800 and 1820 as a much simpler piece (without the porcelain plaques). It was probably veneered all over with the dappled mahogany that is now seen everywhere except the doors. This form of marking is colloquially known as 'plum pudding' mahogany and was very fashionable at the beginning of the 19th century. We think that the circular plaques were added between about 1860 and 1880, in imitation of the Sèvres porcelain plaques that were used on furniture in the 1780s. These plaques have in fact been made from old plates, but the original decoration has been removed with acid, and this floral decoration added.

Physical description

Carcase of oak, pine and mahogany, veneered with plain mahogany and 'plum pudding' mahogany, with gilt-bronze mounts; the doors set with circular plaques of painted porcelain, possibly cut from earlier plates; the top set with a slab of Carrara marble

Place of Origin

London (possibly, made)
Paris (possibly, made)

Date

1800-1820 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Oak, pine and mahogany veneered with plain mahogany and 'plum pudding' mahogany; gilt bronze mounts, painted porcelain and Carrara marble

Marks and inscriptions

'Sèvres / 3 / an 7 / L. / 2000'
Painted in blue on the back of the porcelain plaque on the left or proper right door of the upper section

'Sèvres / an 7. / L. / 2000'
Painted in blue on the back of the porcelain plaque on the right or proper left door of the upper section. The S of 'Sèvres' covers the left L of the crossed L's, which enclose a date letter 'c'. Another mark, partly obscured, seems to be a crescent with dot: ').' There is also an incised mark which should be further checked.

Dimensions

Height: 121.8 cm, Width: 62.3 cm, Depth: 40.6 cm

Object history note

In the collection of John Jones before 1882

Descriptive line

Veneered in mahogany on oak and pine, with gilt-bronze mounts; the porcelain plaques added in the 19th century

Production Note

This piece may have been made between 1800 and 1820, as a rather plain, slightly old-fashioned piece, following the styles first introduced in the 1780s, and then embellished, probably in London, in about 1860-80

Materials

Oak; Mahogany; Gilt bronze; Porcelain; Pine

Techniques

Cabinet-making

Subjects depicted

Flowers

Categories

Furniture

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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