Large bureau

Jacques Dubois


Large bureau


Louis XV period, approx. 1750


Height: 31” 7/8 in; Width: 64”3/8 in; Depth: 32”11/16


Bibliography: J-M Camarty, Les Dassy, chronique d’une famille meldoise, XVIe – XXe siècles, Meaux, 1999.


Provenance: René-Gaspard Dassy (died in 1837), then by inheritance.

At the instigation of some Parisian marchands-merciers, themselves encouraged by certain prominent members of the Court, Chinese and Japanese imagery regularly began to appear in the decoration of furniture. This was achieved by integrating lacquer panels that had been cut from screens and cabinets that had been shipped, at great expense, from the Far East for the purpose. This is the context in which our bureau plat left the workshop of Jacques Dubois. The tabletop is of gently sweeping lines and the legs are elegantly curved, the carcass too has soft undulating contours and features a row of three drawers. A number of fine Chinese lacquer panels bearing rural images of pagodas have been integrated into a rosewood veneer. The bureau plat is adorned with finely engraved bronze gilt: a moulded form along the edge of the top of the bureau culminating in decorative mounts at the corners, leaf-effect drawer handles and key-holes, twisted and torn leaf-effects on the carcass between the drawers, foliated scrolls on the upper parts of the legs and at the centre of each end of the carcass a motif of stylised palm with olive branches and acanthus leaves.

This composition was particularly innovative for its time and is testament to the precocity of this style of cabinet-making à l’orientale; a style, initiated by the great collectors of the day, that was still very much in its infancy.