Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014
Roll-top desk veneered in purplewood, mahogany, casuarina wood, holly, boxwood, sycamore and other woods, partly stained and engraved. The top, surmounted by a pierced gilt bronze gallery, is fitted with three drawers - the central one forming a reading stand. Four gilt bronze foliate scroll candle branches, in pairs, are mounted at the sides. The interior is fitted with a nest in three tiers, flanked on each side by three drawers, the central part concealing a hidden compartment. The lower section fitted with five further drawers. On cabriole legs. Decorated with geometric marquetry in simulated relief enclosing water-lilies and with panels of flowers and fruit. The centre of the roll-top shows a trophy of Poetry and Literature.
The drawers in the lower section can only be opened when the roll-top is fully open, a device typical of Riesener's work.
Jean-Henri Riesener (1734-1806) was a French royal ébéniste, who worked in Paris. He became ébéniste ordinaire du roi in 1774 and his work exemplifies the Louis XVI style.