Writing Table

Object Details

Title:

Writing Table

Artist/Maker:

Unknown

Culture:

French

Place:

Paris, France (Place created)

Date:

about 1670–1675

Medium:

Oak veneered with ivory, blue-painted horn, ebony, rosewood, and amaranth, with drawer of walnut; gilt-bronze moldings; brass; iron; modern velvet

Object Number:

83.DA.21

Dimensions:

63.5 × 48.5 × 35.5 cm (25 × 19 1/8 × 14 in.)

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This table's unusual materials and coloring allow scholars to link it to a written source and a particular building. The posthumous inventory of the French king Louis XIV's possessions in 1720 describes the table in considerable detail. Although the inventory gives neither the name of the maker nor its original location, the table probably came from the Trianon de Porcelaine, a small house built for the King's mistress, Madame de Montespan, on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles. This table's marquetry of ivory and horn, painted blue underneath, would have followed the house's blue-and-white color scheme, imitating blue-and-white Chinese porcelain, a fashionable and highly prized material. Blue-and-white ceramic tiles decorated the house, and some of the furniture was also painted blue-and-white.

The table's top may be raised to form an angled reading or writing stand, while a drawer at the side is fitted for writing equipment.

Exhibitions
Louis XIV at the Getty (June 9, 2015 to July 31, 2016)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), June 9, 2015 to July 31, 2016
Bibliography

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