Drop-front secretaire made for the Spanish court. The upper section has a drawer and a fall-flap revealing ten drawers and a secret compartment containing four drawers. The lower section has two doors opening on to two flaps (one opening upwards and the other downwards), disclosing two shelves.
The entire surface of the secretaire is covered by marquetry panels:
The main flap represents the Palais de la Monnaie along the Seine, bordered by a frieze of rinceaux.
The door panels on the lower section show scenes of Roman ruins, with people and animals, framed by a similar frieze of rinceaux as the one on the upper section.
The sides have two panels each representing scenes of ruins, with a matching decoration.
The inside of the secretaire is inlaid with two matching musical trophies, as well as a series of vases, glasses, bottles and flasks. This secretaire has other decorative structural elements, such as trompe l’oeil fluting, pilasters and columns with Corinthian capitals.
It also has a chiselled ormolu decoration consisting of acanthus leaf friezes, gadroons, lion and goat masks, ornamental keyholes, …
The top is in white veined marble.
Period: end of the reign of Louis XVI
The marquetry panels on the sides and lower section are after engravings by F. Basan (1723-1807) of paintings by P.A. Machy. Basan engraved 8 examples, contained in a volume entitled “Ruines”.
Panels that are identical or in a similar spirit can be found on other pieces of furniture:
•A commode from the Calouste Gulbenkian collection in Lisbon
•A mechanical table by Christophe Wolff at the Louvre
•A mechanical table attributed to Christophe Wolff at Waddesdon Manor, from the James A. de Rothschild collection
•A lady’s writing desk by Christophe Wolff , sold on 11 November 1984 in Monte Carlo
•A cylinder desk and a commode by Gilbert from the former Edward James collection
•A cylinder desk by Denizot
Height 175 cm 69 in
Depth 47 cm 18 1/2 in
Width 120 cm 47 1/2 in