Louis XVI drop front desk, Strassburg region 1780.
Beautiful mirrored walnut root veneer and carved rosettes ornaments on the corners embellish this charming Louis XVI drop front desk.
Above the writing surface is one drawer, the lower part has two doors. Behind the writing surface are a total of eight drawers and one shelf. It has an exquisite rose colored marble top.
The transition from the baroque and the rocaille style to the neoclassical style had begun in about 1760, near the end of the reign of Louis XV. It was advanced by the reports of the discoveries at the archeological sites at Herculaneum and Pompeii. With the death of Louis XV on May 10, 1774, his grandson Louis XVI became King of France at age twenty. The new king had little interest in the arts. His wife, Marie Antoinette, however, was deeply interested in the arts and gave her protection to artists. She ordered large amounts of furniture in the neoclassical style, inspired by Greco-Roman art.
The basic forms of writing table, the drop-front desk and cylinder desk had all appeared in the furniture of Louis XV, but their appearance became more classical and geometric under Louis XVI. Gilded brass rosettes or other ornaments often decorated the corners.
Details of this desk
The drop front desk offered here originates probably from the western, provincial part of France. The use of local wood and the carved ornaments suggest the assumption that this furniture piece was not made in one of the royal workshops. It is clearly connected to the more unpretentious “Zopfstil”, the German version of the Louis XVI style. The German cabinet makers often renounced the use of too pretentious bronze fittings and focused on the beauty of different wood grains and carved details.
The drop front desk comes refinished and French polished. It has some minor, age-induced veneer cracks. It measures 55.5 x 31.5 x 16 inches. The depth of the writing top is 20.8 inches.
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