Desk (bureau "Mazarin")

Object Details

Title:

Desk (bureau "Mazarin")

Artist/Maker:

Unknown

Culture:

French

Place:

Paris, France (Place created)

Date:

about 1692–1700

Medium:

Fir, veneered with brass, copper, silver, ebony, bone, horn (some painted blue, green, orange, and red, and laid on gold foil), mother-of-pearl, and tortoiseshell; drawers of beech, oak, walnut; silvered-bronze mounts; silk velvet; steel key

Object Number:

87.DA.77

Dimensions:

70.5 × 88.9 × 50.8 cm (27 3/4 × 35 × 20 in.)

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Designed as a showpiece rather than for actual use, nearly the entire surface of this delicate little table is covered with a colorful veneer of various exotic materials, including brass, tortoiseshell, copper, pewter, ebony, ivory, mother-of-pearl, and horn painted red, blue, orange, and green. An elaborate array of objects decorates the surface, including reclining figures, birds, animals, cupids, and vases of fruit and flowers. The feet of the desk are made from brass covered with silver, and silvered tassels hang from the drawers.

The desk was made for Maximilian Emanuel, the Elector of Bavaria, who developed a taste for French furniture when he was exiled in Paris around 1700. The central coat of arms on the top of the desk, beneath an electoral crown, flanked by the standing lions of Bavaria and surrounded by the order of the Golden Fleece, replaced the earlier arms of the Elector. However, the original steel key of this desk survives, decorated with Maximilian Emanuel's monogram and the electoral crown.

Provenance
about 1692- 1700

Maximilian II Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria, German, 1662 - 1726, together with the gradin 2009.6.

by 1854 - after 1862

Captain Thomas Leyland, English, 1811 - 1891, together with the gradin 2009.6.

- 1917

William Cornwallis West, British, 1835 - 1917, probably by inheritance to his daughter, Mary-Theresa Olivia Cornwallis West, together with the gradin 2009.6.

? 1917 - 1943

Mary-Theresa Olivia Cornwallis West, Princess of Pless, British, 1873 - 1943, sold after her death in the estate sale on site (without catalogue), separately from the gradin 2009.6.

- 1978

David L. Style, English, 1913 - 2004 [sold, Christie's, Wateringbury Place, Maidstone, Kent, June 1, 1978, no. 545]

- 1987

Private Collection [sold, Sotheby's, Monaco, June 21, 1987, no. 1097, to the J. Paul Getty Museum]

Exhibitions
French Decorative Arts (1854) (lent by Captain Leyland.)
  • Gore House, Kensington, London, 1854
Special Exhibition of Works of Art of the Medieval, Renaissance, and More Recent Periods (June 1862) (lent by Captain Leyland)
Bibliography

The South Kensington Museum, Special Exhibition of Works of Art of the Medieval, Renaissance, and More Recent Periods (London, 1862), p. 36, no. 812, lent by Captain Leyland.

Strange, Thomas Arthur. An Historical Guide to French Interiors, Furniture, Decoration, Woodwork and Allied Arts during the Last Half of the Seventeenth Century, the Whole of the Eighteenth Century & the Early Part of the Nineteenth (London, 1903), pp. 147, 151, 153.

Art at Auction. The Year at Sotheby's 1986-1987 (London: Sotheby Publications, 1987), p. 262.

"Acquisitions/1987." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 16 (1988), pp. 176-77, no. 66.

Ronfort, Jean-Nérée, and Jean-Dominique Augarde. "Le Maître du Bureau de l'Electeur." L'Estampille-L'Objet d'Art 243 (January 1991), pp. 42-75.

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), pp. 34-35, no. 40.

Ramond, Pierre. Chefs d'oeuvre des marqueteurs. Vol. 1, Des origines à Louis XIV (Dourdan: Éditions H. Vial, 1994), frontispiece and pp. 47, 135-41.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 4th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 191.

Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: Decorative Arts (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), pp. 64-65, no. 47.

Ramond, Pierre. Masterpieces of Marquetry. Vol. 1, From the Beginnings to Louis XIV (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2000), frontispiece and pp. 134-41.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 6th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), p. 191, 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. 23, no. 40.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 7th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007), p. 210, ill.

Wilson, Gillian, et al. French Furniture and Gilt Bronzes: Baroque and Régence: Catalogue of the J. Paul Getty Museum Collection (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2008), pp. 82-95, no. 7.

Kopf, Silas. A Marquetry Odyssey: Historical Objects and Personal Work (Manchester, VT: Hudson Hills Press, 2008), pp. 90-92, fig. 120.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 8th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2015), p. 259, ill.