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Writing table

  • Place of origin:

    paris, France (made)

  • Date:

    1765-1770 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Oeben, Simon (designer and maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Veneered in marquetry of bois satiné tulipwood and purplewood with additional marquetry of boxwood, ebony and sycamore; mounts of gilt bronze; writing panel of leather

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by John Jones

  • Museum number:

    1099:1 to 3-1882

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

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Simon Oeben was the brother of a more famous cabinet-maker, Jean-François Oeben, who was appointed cabinet-maker to the French King, Louis XV, in 1754. The two brothers shared a workshop in the Gobelins manufactory, but two years later Jean-François moved to the Arsenal, to achieve more space for his workshop. Simon Oeben remained where he was, and he in turn was appointed as a royal cabinet-maker. This writing table or bureau plat is decorated with a finely-detailed trellis marquetry of a design that was probably first used in Jean-François Oeben's workshop, but then became widely popular. The Oeben brothers were working in the years when the new, Neo-classical style was becoming dominant, and they modified their work to suit the new fashion. This table shows a top that still has the curving outlines of a Rococo table, but the legs are very strictly Neo-classical, adorned with Roman swags of laurel in gilt bronze.

Place of Origin

paris, France (made)

Date

1765-1770 (made)

Artist/maker

Oeben, Simon (designer and maker)

Materials and Techniques

Veneered in marquetry of bois satiné tulipwood and purplewood with additional marquetry of boxwood, ebony and sycamore; mounts of gilt bronze; writing panel of leather

Marks and inscriptions

'S.[at centre height] OEBEN'

Dimensions

Height: 74.5 cm, Width: 125.5 cm, Depth: 61 cm

Object history note

In the collection of John Jones before 1882

Descriptive line

Writing table (bureau plat), French, 1765-70

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Eriksen, Svend. Early Neo-Classicism in France. London: Faber & Faber, 1974, 432 pp, ill. ISBN 0 571 08717 5, p. 329, pl. 144

Labels and date

[Label text by Peter Thornton]

Writing table (bureau plât)
French (Paris); about 1774
Stamped 'S.Oeben'

Veneered with geometrical marquetry of various woods. Gilt bronze mounts. The two ends of the top surface slide outwards, when unlocked, to reveal large compartments within.

Simon Oeben was a brother of the more famous Jean-François Oeben. He became a master cabinet-maker in 1764 and enjoyed the patronage of the duc de Choiseul. The legs on this piece closely resemble those on a desk provided by Riesener in 1774 for the comte de Provence, now at Waddesdon Manor. Riesener had married Jean-François' widow in 1767 so he would have had close connections with Simon Oeben.

Jones Collection
Museum No. 1099-1882 [1980]

Materials

Leather; Oak; Ebony; Boxwood; Gilt bronze; Sycamore; Tulipwood; Purplewood; Bois satiné

Techniques

Gilding; Casting; Chasing; Veneering; Cabinet making

Subjects depicted

Trellis; Laurel swags

Categories

Furniture

Collection code

FWK

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Qr_O118367
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