Exquisite antique French Napoleon III era 12.5" wide writer's box, lap desk or "ecritoire" (yes, that's how it's spelled in France) with richly burled walnut veneers, ebony, kingwood & brass edgings, boulle style cartouche in brass & mother of pearl with "M.D." monogram, opulent burled or birdseye table interior, facet cut glass inkwell pair and all in fabulous condition! A superb old beauty that came directly to us from France and hails from the Napoleon III era (c. 1850-70, approximately), a period of highest aesthetic in boxes and chests, caskets, rich with the skills of Master ebenistes, (ebaniste) work. Those are the furniture and cabinetry tradesmen in France and the era brought forth a myriad of the finest old boxes. I've been a box collector from way way back, and these rise above all in my opinion. The boulle cartouche is just beautiful in this one, set with inlays of mother of pearl against the marquetry of brass and the veneers of beautifully contrasted old hardwoods. The style of this one is my favorite, as well, with hinged upper cap that folds back and away to reveal storage for your stationery and all inside. We half expected to see an engraved lock plate signature by Tahan or Vervelle, Giroux, P. Sormani or one or two other of the noted top makers on this one, it is so fine. But it might well be by one of those and just one that is unsigned. That signature would elevate the price and value for collectors, so this one has the aesthetic at a bit of a bargain price. They didn't put engraved lock plates on every single one. Makers to the King, and to Royals of Europe, the elite of the world, if only we had the rich history this chest could tell us. Alas, like almost everything that comes to market, no story but the one we know of history of the time, the quality, the inherent beauty that arrives intact as it is to us today.
Excellent condition for age and type. A very few slight flaws possible but, as you can see, it's really as fine as they come. The interior is also veneered in an elegant burled maple throughout with a rear divider for your stationery, a covered "hidden" compartment in the upper portion of the writing surface for larger correspondence and your special letters (perhaps bound in an emerald green silk ribbon - love letters come to mind). Some things we've lost to the digital age, much to our collective dismay, right? The inkwells and little sander piece may not be original but who is to say :). Working lock with key. See pictures for measurements.
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