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Writing and Toilette Table
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Jean-François Oeben
French, Paris, about 1754
Oak veneered with various stained woods; gilt-bronze mounts
2 ft. 4 in. x 2 ft. 7 1/2 in. x 1 ft. 4 7/8 in.
71.DA.103

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When unlocked, the top of this small table may be slid back, revealing a drawer covered with a sliding lid veneered with marquetry. By pressing a button, the sliding lid releases, showing silk-lined compartments that may once have held writing materials and various pots for powder, rouge, and beauty patches. This table would probably have been placed in the bedroom, where it would serve for both dressing and writing.

The fine floral marquetry on the top of the table is characteristic of the work of Jean-François Oeben, a royal ébéniste. The naturalistically arranged bouquet represented on the top surface contains various flowers including roses, tulips, and daffodils. A garland of blossoms appears to hang from a grill above. At the four corners, a lion, a swan, a dove, and a salamander represent the four elements: Earth, Water, Air, and Fire. The trellis marquetry around the sides of the table and floral marquetry on top are formed from small pieces of wood dyed in various shades, including blue and green, all of which are now almost completely faded.

Detail Views

Marquetry colors
Marquetry colors

Maker
Maker's stamp

Interior of drawer
Interior of drawer

Writing slide
Writing slide


Technical Views

Reproduction Table Top
Reproduction Table Top


Other Views

Table with drawer cover open
Table with drawer cover open

Table top
Table top

Table with drawer extended
Table with drawer extended