Categories: Furniture |

A Louis XIV Boulle bureau Mazarin, circa 1680.

With a red tortoiseshell ground, the top decorated with cartouches and grotesque masks within strapwork and foliate frames.

With a frieze drawer above a kneehole and a hinged flap, with three bowed drawers in each pedestal.

On square tapering legs joined by waved x-stretchers on ball feet, 77cm by 116cm.

The 1804 Burghley Inventory records: ‘Red Drawing room…2 brass & tortoiseshell cabinets 1 lady exeters.’

The Lady Exeter referred to was Elizabeth, former Dowager Duchess of Hamilton and the third wife of Henry, 10th Earl and from 1801, 1st Marquess of Exeter (1754-1804).

The term bureau Mazarin refers to Cardinal Mazarin (1602-1661), a great patron of the arts and chief minister of France from 1649-1661.

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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