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Bureau plat
  • Bureau plat
    Boulle, André-Charles, born 1642 - died 1732
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Bureau plat

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (designed)
    Paris (made)

  • Date:

    1690 (designed)
    1690 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Boulle, André-Charles, born 1642 - died 1732 (designed)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    boulle and marquetry bureau with ormolu mounts

  • Museum number:

    W.19-1997

  • Gallery location:

    On display at Longleat House, Wiltshire

The object is on loan ro Longleat, Wiltshire, inside the Red Library.

Physical description

A Louis XIV ormolu-mounted Boulle and marquetry bureau by André-Charles Boulle, the baize-lined rectangular top with a band of scrolling foliage and flowerheads, the spandrels with zoomorphic scallop masks, the kneehole flanked by seven panelled drawers with foliate borders and scrolling cartouche and foliate keyplates, the panelled sides and reverse created by panels of blue tortoise-shell with bacchic masks and songbirds among scrolling foliage and flowerheads, on eight square tapering legs headed by gadrooned collars and joined by double Y-stretchers, and with pinecone feet, the undercarriage reframed.

Place of Origin

Paris (designed)
Paris (made)

Date

1690 (designed)
1690 (made)

Artist/maker

Boulle, André-Charles, born 1642 - died 1732 (designed)

Materials and Techniques

boulle and marquetry bureau with ormolu mounts

Dimensions

Width: 198 cm, Height: 851 mm, Depth: 965 mm, Height: 83 cm, Depth: 97 cm

Object history note

Historical significance: The importance of this piece rests in its representation of the high quality wood marquetry which was also produced by the workshop of André-Charles Boulle, as well as the better-known marquetry in tortoiseshell and brass. Such wood marquetry by Boulle is extremely rare and in Britain is only represented by the panel (re-mounted in a late 18th century British cabinet) at The Bowes Museum and by a cabinet at Drumlanrig. Additionally, the piece is a rare early form of bureau plat, unrepresented in this collection. Only one other piece of this form, which can be attributed to the Boulle workshops, is in a North American collection. The use of large areas of blue horn and brass marquetry in panels on the sides of the desk also indicates an origin in a workshop catering to the highest levels of luxury. Though the carcase of this piece has been much altered and the base partially replaced in the 19th century, we accept that this was common practice and, indeed, indicates the continued enthusiasm for such pieces by collectors throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Descriptive line

Bureau plat by Andre-Charles Boulle, boulle and marquetry with ormolu mounts, French, 18th c.

Materials

Wood; Ormolu; Tortoise-shell; Brass (alloy)

Techniques

Cabinet-making; Boulle work; Marquetry

Production Type

Unique

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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