Writing Table (bureau plat)
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Attributed to Joseph Baumhauer
French, about 1745 - 1749
Oak veneered with satiné rouge; gilt bronze mounts; modern leather top
H: 2 ft. 7 1/16 in. x W: 5 ft. 11 3/8 in. x D: 3 ft. 3 5/8 in.

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Craftsmen of the 1700s used the highly adaptable material of gilt bronze in numerous ways, as decorative mounts for furniture, clocks, ceramics, and light fittings. On this large desk, the elaborate gilt bronze mounts form the main decoration. Gilt bronze frames the drawer fronts with rich sprays and floral clusters, while shell-like corner mounts taper down the legs into leafy scrolling feet known as sabots. Shells and vines even decorate the lock plate.

Scholars believe that Louis XV gave this table to the empress of Russia in 1745. In the 1800s it stood in the Oranienbaum Palace near Saint Petersburg.

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