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.
Purchased by George IV at the George Watson-Taylor sale at Christie's, on 28 May 1825 for £107 2s. It was described at the time as having belonged to Louis XVI. The desk is similar in shape and construction to a desk at Waddesdon Manor, thought to have been for Louis XV's daughter.
George IV acquired this piece to furnish Windsor Castle. Part of the group of furniture and furnishings refurbished between 1827 and 1829 to King George IV by the partnership of Morel and Seddon for the His Majesty’s Sitting Room at Windsor Castle.