Elegance with hidden delight

The scarlet lacquer bureau is decorated in gilt and subdued polychrome colours with flowers and foliage, with thin gilded bands following the contours of the piece. The fall front, which has a simple scroll escutcheon, opens to reveal a tooled green leather writing surface stamped with a Chinaman in the centre.

The marquetry interior is inlaid with flowers and foliage on a diagonal ground and it contains an upper shelf with a central pigeonhole and two blue silk lined drawers below, one of which contains two silver ink pots made in Paris in 1739 by Antoine Jossey, with the charge mark of Louis Robin. The central well is divided into two compartments with two slides, one of which recedes and the other which slides across sideways. On cabriole legs with foliate foot mounts.

With an inventory number 50 painted in black on the underside and stamped twice on the underside.

Bernard Van Risanburgh

One of the most innovative ebenistes of the 18th Century, Bernard van Ris was one of the first to use Japanese lacquer to embellish his furniture. The lacquer was supplied by the marchand-mercier for whom he worked, and who included Herbert, the first marchand to deliver lacquer furniture to the Garde-Meuble Royal, and later Duvaux and Poirier. The marchands could afford the extremely high price of imported lacquer screens and cabinets and were prepared to take the financial risk involved, whereas an ebeniste, even a successful one, would have been unlikely to be able to raise sufficient funds. The inventory taken on Van Risenburgh’s death listed twenty pieces of furniture, nearly all of which were unveneered and incomplete; tending to endorse the view that he would have been sent specific instructions and materials, such as lacquer and porcelain plaques, from the marchand-mercier. 

Bernard Van Risanburgh Continued

The majority of Van Risenburgh’s surviving pieces decorated in lacquer are commodes, encoignures and large secretaires, although a blue lacquer bureau de dame or secretaire en pente stamped by him is illustrated by Alexander Pradère (1989, p.192, no.178 ). On the same page, Pradère also illustrates a bureau de dame with floral bois de bout marquetry, in which flowers inlaid in kingwood stand out against a ground of lighter wood, of either bois satiné or, on his later pieces, tulipwood.


Item Particulars

Width: 151 59
Depth: 66 26
Height: 97 38