Secretaire

ca. 1860-1876 (made)
Secretaire thumbnail 1
Secretaire thumbnail 2
+8
images
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This secretaire is closely modelled on furniture made by the Parisian cabinet-maker Adam Weisweiler in the 1780s. Weisweiler used a variety of interlaced, pierced shapes for the low stretchers of many of the stands of his pieces, and also figures or turned columns in gilt bronze on the front corners.

The back and underside of this piece, however, carry the stamp of the cabinet-maker Jean Piret, who is recorded working in Paris from 1865 to 1876. By that date, the furniture of the 1780s was highly popular with collectors, and Weisweiler's work was particularly esteemed. The workmanship of this piece is good enough to suggest that it might have been made as a fake, but it is unlikely that a faker would have put his name to a piece. The most likely explanation is that the secretaire was made as a high-quality reproduction.


object details
Category
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 9 parts.

  • Secretaire
  • Key
  • Secretaire (Slab)
  • Secretaire (Drawer)
  • Secretaire (Drawer)
  • Secretaire (Drawer)
  • Secretaire (Drawer)
  • Secretaire (Drawer)
  • Secretaire (Drawer)
Materials and Techniques
Thuya wood with gilt bronze mounts and marble top, the interior lined with satinwood
Brief Description
Drop-front secretaire on open stand, veneered in thuya wood and mounted with gilt bronze
Physical Description
Drop-front secretaire on open stand, veneered in thuya wood and mounted with gilt bronze,. Marble top. Interior lined with satinwood.
Dimensions
  • Including marble slab height: 124.7cm
  • At mid height width: 69.2cm
  • Depth: 34.6cm
Marks and Inscriptions
  • II (Stamped on the top, underneath the marble, probably indicating that it was made as one of a pair.)
  • J. PIRET (Stamped 3 times: on the underside frame board of the top at the PR side near the centre (small stamp); on the back, left and right, low down at the end grain of the frame construction above the drawer)
Gallery Label
SECRETAIRE 1068-1882 'American and European Art and Design 1800-1900' This secretaire, originally one of a pair, is a refined example of the revival of the Louis XVI style of the 1770s and 1780s. Piret, by whom it is stamped, traded independently from 1865 to 1876. John Jones, who bequeathed the cabinet to the Museum in 1882, probably acquired it as an original Louis XVI piece. Lent from the Jones Bequest(1987-2006)
Credit line
Bequeathed by John Jones
Object history
In the collection of John Jones before 1882
Production
Although made ca. 1860-70, the secretaire includes many design elements used by Weisweiler in the 1780s
Subjects depicted
Summary
This secretaire is closely modelled on furniture made by the Parisian cabinet-maker Adam Weisweiler in the 1780s. Weisweiler used a variety of interlaced, pierced shapes for the low stretchers of many of the stands of his pieces, and also figures or turned columns in gilt bronze on the front corners.



The back and underside of this piece, however, carry the stamp of the cabinet-maker Jean Piret, who is recorded working in Paris from 1865 to 1876. By that date, the furniture of the 1780s was highly popular with collectors, and Weisweiler's work was particularly esteemed. The workmanship of this piece is good enough to suggest that it might have been made as a fake, but it is unlikely that a faker would have put his name to a piece. The most likely explanation is that the secretaire was made as a high-quality reproduction.
Collection
Accession Number
1068:1, 2-1882

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record createdJune 26, 2001
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