Writing and Toilette Table

Object Details

Title:

Writing and Toilette Table

Artist/Maker:

Jean-François Oeben (French, born Germany, 1721 - 1763, master 1761)

Culture:

French

Place:

Paris, France, Europe (Place created)

Date:

1754

Medium:

Oak veneered with kingwood, amaranth, tulipwood, and other stained and natural exotic woods; leather; silk; gilt-bronze mounts

Dimensions:

71.1 × 80 × 42.8 cm (28 × 31 1/2 × 16 7/8 in.)

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When unlocked, the top of this small table may be slid back, revealing a drawer covered with a sliding lid veneered with marquetry. By pressing a button, the sliding lid releases, showing silk-lined compartments that may once have held writing materials and various pots for powder, rouge, and beauty patches. This table would probably have been placed in the bedroom, where it would serve for both dressing and writing.

The fine floral marquetry on the top of the table is characteristic of the work of Jean-François Oeben, a royal ébéniste. The naturalistically arranged bouquet represented on the top surface contains various flowers including roses, tulips, and daffodils. A garland of blossoms appears to hang from a grill above. At the four corners, a lion, a swan, a dove, and a salamander represent the four elements: Earth, Water, Air, and Fire. The trellis marquetry around the sides of the table and floral marquetry on top are formed from small pieces of wood dyed in various shades, including blue and green, all of which are now almost completely faded.

Provenance
- 1864

George Augustus Frederick John Murray, 6th Marquess of Tullibardine, 6th Duke of Atholl, Scottish, 1814 - 1864 (Scotland), by inheritance to Mary Gavin Baillie-Hamilton, 1864.
Source: Collection of the Estate of the Late Judge Elbert H. Gary, American Art Association, April 21, 1928, lot 272: "Collection of the Marquis of Tullibardine;" Getty Research Institute, Photo Archive, Seligmann Collection, 89.P.7 Box 15.

1864 - 1912

Mary Gavin Baillie-Hamilton (Hon. Mrs. Robert Baillie-Hamilton), Scottish, 1832 - 1912, by inheritance to Lady Harvey, 1912.
Source: Collection of the Estate of the Late Judge Elbert H. Gary, American Art Association, April 21, 1928, lot 272: "Collection of Mrs. Mary Gavin Baillie Hamilton;" Getty Research Institute, Photo Archive, Seligmann Collection, 89.P.7 Box 15.

1912 -

Lady Harvey (London, England)
Source: Collection of the Estate of the Late Judge Elbert H. Gary, American Art Association, April 21, 1928, lot 272: "Collection of Lady Harvey, London;" Getty Research Institute, Photo Archive, Seligmann Collection, 89.P.7 Box 15.

-

Lewis & Simmons (Paris, France), sold to Elbert H. Gary.
Source: Collection of the Estate of the Late Judge Elbert H. Gary, American Art Association, April 21, 1928, lot 272: "From Lewis and Simmons, Paris."

- 1927

Elbert H. Gary, American, 1846 - 1927 (New York, New York), upon his death, held in trust by the estate.
Source: Ronald Freyberger, “Great Auctions of the Past. The Judge Elbert H. Gary Sale.” Auction 2, no. 10 (June 1969), p. 10-13.

1927-1928

Estate of Elbert H. Gary, American, 1846 - 1927 [sold, Collection of the Estate of the Late Judge Elbert H. Gary, American Art Association, April 21, 1928, lot 272, to Duveen Brothers Inc.]

1928

Duveen Brothers, Inc. (New York, New York), sold to John D. Rockefeller, 1928.
Source: Property of the Estate of the Late Martha Baird Rockefeller, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, October 23, 1971: "From Duveen Brothers, Paris and New York."

1928 - 1960

John D. Rockefeller, Jr., American, 1874 - 1960 (New York, New York), by inheritance to his wife, Martha Baird Rockefeller, 1960.
Source: Invoice in the files of the Getty Research Institute, Duveen Brothers Archive, 960015, box 455, folder 4.

1960 - 1971

Martha Baird Rockefeller, American, 1895 - 1971 (New York, New York) [sold, Property of the Estate of the Late Martha Baird Rockefeller, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, October 23, 1971, lot 712, to the Antique Porcelain Co.]
Source: Ronald Freyberger, “Great Auctions of the Past. The Judge Elbert H. Gary Sale.” Auction 2, no. 10 (June 1969), p. 10-13.

1971

The Antique Porcelain Company (New York) (New York, New York), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1971.
Source: Documents in the files of J. Paul Getty Museum.

Exhibitions
The Making of Furniture (October 7, 2003 to October 23, 2005)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), October 7, 2003 to October 23, 2005
Education Resources

Education Resource

Subjects

Grades

Format

Looking at French Decorative Arts

The Function of Furniture

In this lesson students learn about and discuss decorative arts objects and their functions.

Visual Arts; English–Language Arts; ESL (English as a Second Language)

Adult Learners

Single Class Lesson

Related Media
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    Audio: Table (Oeben)