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Rolltop Desk
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Gift of J. Paul Getty
This image is available for download, without charge, under the Getty's Open Content Program.

Stamped by Bernard Molitor, furniture worker; some mounts by Gambier, metalworker; after designs by François Rémond, metalworker
French, Paris, about 1785 - 1788
Oak veneered with mahogany and ebony; gilt bronze mounts; griotte de Flandre marble top
H: 4 ft. 6 in. x W: 5 ft. 11 1/4 in. x D: 2 ft. 10 1/4 in.
67.DA.9

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When the roll-top is raised, a writing slide may be pulled forward, revealing dummy drawer fronts that match the interior desk drawers above. Additional writing slides pull out at the sides, perhaps for assistants to take dictation. The desk was originally designed to sit in the middle of a room, where it could be seen from all sides; the gilt bronze mounts that decorate the lower frieze once continued around the back.

The ébéniste Bernard Molitor, who made this desk, received many commissions from the French court. Although scholars are unsure exactly who commissioned this grand piece, an entry in a sale catalogue of 1800, when it was sold at auction, described it as having come from the royal château of Saint-Cloud. A further clue to its original owner are the very small fleurs-de-lis, symbol of the monarchy, stamped on the drawer handle of the center drawer.

Detail Views

Back
Back

Leather slide at side
Leather slide at side

Stamp of Molitor
Stamp of Molitor

Gilt-bronze mount
Gilt-bronze mount

Safe
Safe


Other Views

Front open and slide extended
Front open and slide extended

Side
Side