Tiered “Bonheur du Jour” lady’s writing table

Tiered “Bonheur du Jour” lady’s writing table

Stamped by Martin Carlin, Master in 1766
ca. 1766
Oak veneered with tulipwood, decorated with chased gilt bronze and plaques of soft-paste Sèvres porcelain
Inv. CAM 126
© MAD, Paris / photo: Jean Tholance

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The apron, table top and upper tier of this writing table are decorated with seventeen porcelain plaques featuring bouquets of flowers on a white background. The plaques have green and gold frames set in bronze mounts. Nine plaques bear the date-letter “N” for 1766; some are signed by the flower painters Philippe Xhrouet, Nicolas Catrice and Jean-Jacques Pierre the Younger. The back of the table is decorated with a marquetry of sycamore and amaranth branches. The tulipwood-veneered drawer serves as a writing surface. The marchand-mercier (furniture dealer) Simon-Philippe Poirier commissioned Carlin to make furniture pieces of this kind, decorated with plaques of Sèvres porcelain which he ordered from the Sèvres factory. Eleven tables of this model are known, with plaques dated between 1765 and 1774; two are in the Rothschild collection at Waddesdon Manor, two others in the Metropolitan Museum in New York. The antiques dealer Jacques Seligmann sold this table to Moïse de Camondo; it came from the collection of the Comte d’Aubigny and the Général Baron de Charrette. Poirier had delivered a similar table to Madame Du Barry; Louis XVI’s sister-in-law, the Comtesse d’Artois, also owned one.

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