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Table

Table

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (designed and made)

  • Date:

    c. 1780 (designed and made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Jansen, George, born 1726 - died 1785 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    oak, softwood and walnut. Veneered with holly, sycamore, barberry, tulipwood, pearwood, white beam, walnut, purplewood, olive, boxwood, ivory and mother-of-pearl. Gilt-brass mounts.

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by John Jones

  • Museum number:

    1039:1 to 3-1882

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

In 18th-century France small writing tables such as this would have been personal furniture, owned and used by a particular individual. They almost always had lockable drawers in which writing equipment could be kept. Small writing tables were kept in bedrooms and sitting rooms, ideally placed near a fireplace or window. As they were small, light objects, they could be moved easily around the room depending on the time of day or the way the room was being used.

The scene on the top of this table can be found on a number of other pieces of French furniture of the 1770s and 1780s. The table is stamped by the cabinetmaker George Jensen (master 1767), but as the decorative panel is also used on objects stamped by other cabinetmakers it is possible that Jensen was responsible for the marquetry only. He may have supplied marquetry panels such as this to be fitted to case furniture.

Physical description

Carcase of oak and softwood with drawers of walnut. Veneered with holly, sycamore, barberry, tulipwood, pearwood, white beam, walnut, purplewood, olive, boxwood, ivory and mother-of-pearl. Gilt-brass mounts. The underside of the left-hand rail is stamped 'G. JANSEN JME'.

The desk is rectangular with four tapering legs that end in brass feet. A brass gallery runs around the three outer edges of the table top. Beneath the top is a sliding shelf for writing, covered in dark pink silk. There is a lockable drawer on either side of the table. The right-hand drawer is fitted with compartments for writing materials, including a glass inkwell and pounce box.

The whole top is decorated with a marquetry design in which is represented, against an architectural background, a man offering a basket of flowers to a woman on the right and a seated woman taking flowers from a basket on the left. The stand is decorated with scrolling foliage and pateras.

Place of Origin

Paris (designed and made)

Date

c. 1780 (designed and made)

Artist/maker

Jansen, George, born 1726 - died 1785 (made)

Materials and Techniques

oak, softwood and walnut. Veneered with holly, sycamore, barberry, tulipwood, pearwood, white beam, walnut, purplewood, olive, boxwood, ivory and mother-of-pearl. Gilt-brass mounts.

Marks and inscriptions

'G. JANSEN JME'
Stamped on the underside of the left hand rail.

Dimensions

Height: 73.3 cm, Width: 729 mm, Width: 80 cm with drawer partly open, Depth: 423 mm closed, Depth: 52 cm slide partly extended

Object history note

This table and its near-matching pair (1039A-1882) were formerly in the collection of the military tailor John Jones. Mr Jones bequeathed a large collection of furniture, paintings, ceramics, metalwork, glass and books to the V&A in 1882. From the inventory drawn up after Mr Jones' death we know that he kept this table in his drawing room, which was on the first floor of his London house at 95 Piccadilly. Mr Jones also had in his collection an 18th-century embroidery stand (converted in the 19th-century to a writing stand) with a marquetry panel of very similar design to this table's top. The stand (1042-1882) is also stamped by Georg Jansen.

Descriptive line

Writing table, with near-matching pair. Rectangular, with tapering legs and gilt-brass mounts. French (Paris), c. 1780, stamped by George Jansen (master 1767)

Materials

Oak; Softwood; Walnut; Holly; Sycamore; Barberry; Tulipwood; Pearwood; Purplewood; Olive; Boxwood; Ivory; Mother of pearl; Brass; Silk; Material; Material

Techniques

Technique

Categories

Furniture

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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