Writing Table (bureau plat)

Object Details

Title:

Writing Table (bureau plat)

Artist/Maker:

Attributed to Joseph Baumhauer (French, died 1772)

Culture:

French

Place:

Paris, France (Place created)

Date:

1745 to 1749

Medium:

Oak and ash veneered with bloodwood on oak carcass; gilt bronze mounts; modern leather top

Dimensions:

78.9 × 181.3 × 100.6 cm (31 1/16 × 71 3/8 × 39 5/8 in.)

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Craftsmen of the 1700s used the highly adaptable material of gilt bronze in numerous ways, as decorative mounts for furniture, clocks, ceramics, and light fittings. On this large desk, the elaborate gilt bronze mounts form the main decoration. Gilt bronze frames the drawer fronts with rich sprays and floral clusters, while shell-like corner mounts taper down the legs into leafy scrolling feet known as sabots. Shells and vines even decorate the lock plate.

Scholars believe that Louis XV gave this table to the empress of Russia in 1745. In the 1800s it stood in the Oranienbaum Palace near Saint Petersburg.

Provenance
1745 - 1762

Possibly Empress Elizabeth of Russia, 1709 - 1762, given to her by king Louis XV of France, 1745, and then by inheritance to Catherine II of Russia.
Source: Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, archives diplomatique. Registres des Presens du Roy, tome 2098, fol. 30, Pierres et Bijoux des Presens du Roy, March 20, 1738-April 25, 1745.

1745 -

or possibly Count Mikhail Illarionovich Vorontsov, Russian, 1714-1767 (Vorontsov Palace, St. Petersburg, Russia), purchased in Paris, 1745.

1762 or 1763 -

Empress Catherine II of Russia, 1729 - 1796, either by inheritance from empress Elizabeth of Russia, 1762; or purchased with the Vorontsov Palace, St. Petersburg, 1763.
Source: Prachoff, Adrien. Album de l'exposition retrospective d'objets d'art. Saint Petersburg: Golicke and Willborg, 1907. p. 229-231.

by 1904 - 1919

Helene, duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz , princess of Saxe-Altenburg, Russian, 1857 - 1936 (Cabinet de la Souveraine, Chinese Palace, Oranienbaum, near St. Petersburg, Russia), seized by the revolutionary government and nationalized during the Russian Revolution.
Source: Prachoff, Adrien. Album de l'exposition retrospective d'objets d'art. Saint Petersburg: Golicke and Willborg, 1907. p. 229-231.

1919 - 1931

Soviet government, sold through the Russian dealer Mr. Iljin (Berlin, Germany) to Duveen Brothers, Inc., 1931.
Source: Duveen Archives, Getty Research Institute, Box 271, reel 126, folder 22.

1931 - 1935

Duveen Brothers, Inc., sold to Anna Thomson Dodge, 1935.
Source: Duveen Archives, Getty Research Institute, Box 442, reel 297, folder 6.

1935 - 1970

Anna Thomson Dodge, American, born Scotland, 1871 - 1970 (Rose Terrace, Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan), upon her death, held in trust by the estate, 1970.

1970 - 1971

Estate of Anna Thomson Dodge, American, born Scotland, 1871 - 1970 [sold, Highly Important Collection of French Furniture and Works of Art, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, June 24, 1971, lot 98, to the J. Paul Getty Museum]

Education Resources

Education Resource

Subjects

Grades

Format

Looking at French Decorative Arts: Appropriate and Innovate

Students will learn the term appropriation, the contemporary art practice of borrowing elements to create a new work of art.

Visual Arts; English–Language Arts

3-5

Single Class Lesson