The J. Paul Getty Museum

Secrétaire

Object Details

Title:

Secrétaire

Artist/Maker:

Attributed to Jean-François Leleu (French, 1729 - 1807, master 1764)

Culture:

French

Place:

Paris, France (Place Created)

Date:

about 1770

Medium:

Oak veneered with amaranth, bloodwood, tulipwood, and holly; gilt-bronze mounts; steel fittings, breche d'Alep top

Object Number:

82.DA.81

Dimensions:

106.4 × 120 × 43.8 cm (41 7/8 × 47 1/4 × 17 1/4 in.)

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Object Description

This secrétaire, probably made for a library, opens out for use in an unusual way. After inserting and winding a lever, the center front portion of this sécretaire rises from vertical to horizontal. It unfolds to form a wide, deep surface large enough to hold an open folio volume. In addition to this feature, this object has a lower and shallower form than other secrétaires, indicating that it may have been made for a specific location.

The secrétaire's drawers are also equipped with clever locking mechanisms. The eight drawers above the rising front--two in the frieze and six small drawers below--all lock with only two keys. Interior bolts fasten the four drawers at each side of the secrétaire and are released when the uppermost drawer is unlocked and opened.

Jean-François Leleu, who built this secrétaire, was known for his mechanical systems, following in the footsteps of his master Jean-François Oeben (1721–1763). Both master and student used ingenious but simple mechanisms to unlock and open their furniture’s drawers and compartments.

Provenance
Provenance
- 1874

Possibly Baron Mayer Amschel de Rothschild, English, 1818 - 1874 (Mentmore Towers, Buckinghamshire, England), by inheritance to his wife Juliana de Rothschild.

1874 - 1877

Possibly Juliana de Rothschild, English, 1831 - 1877 (Mentmore Towers, Buckinghamshire, England), by inheritance to her daughter, Hannah de Rothschild.

1877 - 1878

Possibly Hannah de Rothschild Primrose, countess of Rosebery, English, 1851 - 1890 (Mentmore Towers, Buckinghamshire, England), brought to her marriage with Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery.

1878 - 1890

Possibly Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery, English, 1847 - 1929 (Mentmore Towers, Buckinghamshire, England) and Hannah de Rothschild Primrose, countess of Rosebery, English, 1851 - 1890, by inheritance to her husband Archibald Philip Primrose, fifth earl of Rosebery.

1890 - 1929

Possibly Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery, English, 1847 - 1929 (Mentmore Towers, Buckinghamshire, England), by inheritance to his son, (Albert) Harry Primrose, sixth earl of Rosebery.

1929 - 1974

Harry Primrose, 6th Earl of Rosebery, English, 1882 - 1974 (Mentmore Towers, Buckinghamshire, England), upon his death, held in trust by his estate.

1974 - 1977

Estate of Harry Primrose, 6th Earl of Rosebery, English, 1882 - 1974 (Mentmore Towers, Buckinghamshire, England) [sold on behalf of his Executors, Mentmore: Volume One, Catalogue of French and Continental Furniture, Tapestries and Clocks, Sotheby Parke Bernet, Mentmore Towers, May 18, 1977, lot 24, for £32,000 to William Robinson]

1977 - 1982

William Robinson (London, England), sold through the agent Mallett at Bourdon House Ltd. to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1982.

Bibliography
Bibliography

Sotheby Parke Bernet. Mentmore: Volume One, Catalogue of French and Continental Furniture, Tapestries and Clocks. May 18, 1977, pp. 22-23, lot 24, ill.

Wilson, Gillian, Adrian Sassoon, and Charissa Bremer-David. "Acquisitions Made by the Department of Decorative Arts in 1982." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 11 (1983), pp. 56-60, no. 12, figs. 79, 81-84, entry by Gillian Wilson.

Wilson, Gillian. Selections from the Decorative Arts in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1983), pp. 74-75, no. 37.

"Principales acquisitions des musées en 1982." La Chronique des Arts: Supplément à la Gazette des Beaux-Arts 1370 (March 1983), p. 36, no. 201.

"Some Acquisitions (1981-82) in the Department of Decorative Arts, The J. Paul Getty Museum." The Burlington Magazine 125, no. 962 (May 1983), p. 325, no. 118.

Sassoon, Adrian, and Gillian Wilson. Decorative Arts: A Handbook of the Collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1986), p. 20-21, no. 44.

Kjellberg, Pierre. Le Mobilier français du XVIIIe siècle: Dictionnaire des ébénistes et des menuisiers (Paris: Éditions de l'Amateur, 1989), pp. 508-509, fig. D.

Pradère, Alexandre. Les ébénistes français de Louis XIV à la Révolution (Paris: Chêne, 1989), pp. 334, 337, fig. 392.

Pradère, Alexandre. French Furniture Makers: The Art of the Ébéniste from Louis XIV to the Revolution (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1989), pp. 334, 337, fig. 392.

Bremer-David, Charissa, et al. Decorative Arts: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue of the Collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1993), p. 38, no. 45.

Ramond, Pierre. Chefs-d'oeuvre des marqueteurs. Vol. 2, De la Régence à nos jours (Dourdan: Éditions H. Vial, 1996), pp. 110-11, ill.

Ramond, Pierre. Masterpieces of Marquetry. Vol. 2, From the Régence to the Present Day (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2000), pp. 110-11, ill.

Wilson, Gillian, and Catherine Hess. Summary Catalogue of European Decorative Arts in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), p. 26, no. 45.