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Furniture by one of the greatest cabinet-makers of the eighteenth century

Attributed to Jean-Henri Riesener (1734–1806)

Writing table 1778 (the top altered before 1787)

Oak, conifer, purplewood, tulipwood, stained woods, ebony or ebonised wood, box, gilt bronze | 71.5 x 83.4 x 51 cm | 2537 |

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When Riesener delivered this writing table to Madame Élisabeth’s bathroom at Versailles in 1778, it was described in the royal accounts as having a marquetry top showing an allegory of Time. This marquetry top was replaced with another some nine years later (perhaps because of water damage), in a style markedly different to that of Riesener, showing a floral bouquet framed by scrolling acanthus leaves. It has been suggested that this alteration was carried out by Pierre-Roger Lacroix, son of Roger Vandercruse.