A Louis XIV Boulle and red tortoiseshell bureau Mazarin, late 17th Century.

The rectangular top is inlaid in première-partie with satyrs flanking Venus and Cupid within a scrolling strapwork cartouche.

This is surrounded by floral bands, masks, fantastic beasts and insects, above a frieze drawer and a cupboard in the kneehole, with three bowed drawers in each pedestal and scrolling canted corners.

It is on square tapering legs joined by H-stretchers and bun feet, 79cm by 121cm.

The term bureau Mazarin refers to Cardinal Mazarin (1602-1661), a great patron of the arts and chief minister of France from 1642-1661.

It usually refers to a kneehole desk, at which only one knee was intended to fit within the kneehole space.

Usually only affordable to the nobility, they were made in an age when gentlemen wore swords and it was thus easier to sit sideways at a desk to make allowance for the weapon.

These were predecessors of the pedestal desk.


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