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, Europe (Place created)

Date:

about 1745 - 1749

Medium:

Oak and ash carcass veneered with bloodwood; gilt bronze mounts; 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, 1762.
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 - 1763

or possibly Count Mikhail Illarionovich Vorontsov, Russian, 1714-1767, sold to Empress Catherine II of Russia with the Vorontsov Palace, 1763.

1762 or 1763 -

Empress Catherine II of Russia, 1729 - 1796
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, 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: Files regarding works of art: Pavlovsk Palace Collection, 1931-1954, Duveen Archives, Getty Research Institute, 960015, Box 271, folder 22.

1931 - 1932

Duveen Brothers, Inc., sold to Anna Thomson Dodge, 1932.
Source: Collectors' files: Dillman, Mrs. (Dodge), 1, ca. 1925-1933, Duveen Archives, Getty Research Institute, 960015, Box 442, folder 5.

1932 - 1970

Anna Thomson Dodge, American, born Scotland, 1871 - 1970, upon her death, held in trust by the estate, 1970.
Source: Collectors' files: Dillman, Mrs. (Dodge), 1, ca. 1925-1933, Duveen Archives, Getty Research Institute, 960015, Box 442, folder 5.

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, through French and Company to the J. Paul Getty Museum]
Source: French and Company invoice, June 28, 1971. Box 1986.IA.55-6, Folder 7, April 1971 - January 1971. J. Paul Getty Early Administrative Records, 1939, 1949-1986, undated. The Getty Research Institute (IA10003).

Exhibitions
L’Exposition retrospective d’objets d’art (February 1 to April 30, 1904)
  • Musée du baron Stieglitz (St. Petersburg), February 1 to April 30, 1904
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