Secrétaire

Object Details

Title:

Secrétaire

Artist/Maker(s):

Attributed to Adam Weisweiler (French, 1744 - 1820, master 1778, active until 1809)

At least 3 of the porcelain plaques gilded by Henry-Francois Vincent le jeune (French, 1733 - 1809, active Sèvres, France 1753 - 1806)

Sèvres Manufactory (French, active 1756 - present)

Culture:

French

Place(s):

Sèvres France Paris France (Place created)

Date:

about 1780 - 1783

Medium:

Oak veneered with yew burl, mahogany, maple and ebony; drawers of mahogany and juniper, set with 5 soft paste porcelain plaques with pale green pointillé ground, polychrome enamel decoration and gilding gilt- bronze mounts; white marble top

Dimensions:

124.1 x 81.9 x 37.1 cm (48 7/8 x 32 1/4 x 14 5/8 in.)

Credit Line:

Gift of J. Paul Getty

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From the 1750s onwards, the Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory supplied various marchands-merciers with porcelain plaques that were then incorporated into various forms of furniture and other items. Dealers ordered the plaques directly from Sèvres and then passed them over to ébénistes like Adam Weisweiler with specific orders about the object they should ornament. The marchandscould therefore offer their clients considerable choice over the final design. In 1785 Weisweiler became the main supplier of furniture mounted with Sèvres plaques to the dealer Dominique Daguerre.

On this work, the porcelain plaques were probably produced before the final position and form of the secrétaire had been determined. The two oval plaques on each side are painted to be viewed horizontally, but they are mounted vertically, with their groups of musical instruments tilted awkwardly on their sides. This orientation suggests that they were not originally intended to be mounted on the same piece of furniture as the three rectangular plaques set on the front.