9459

AN EXTRAORDINARY GEOMETRIC MARQUETRY KNEEHOLE DESK INLAID WITH A DUCAL CORONET

Italian. Circa 1820.

Measurements

Height: 32" (81.5cm); Width: 43 1/4" (110cm); Depth: 25 1/4" (64cm).

Research
Of various woods including boxwood, purple heart, olive, walnut and mahogany. The rectangular top with curved corners with original black leather inset within a band of Greek key decoration and edged with a geometric border, the continuous shaped frieze inlaid with a striped pattern and concealing four drawers to the front opened by hidden locks and catches and concealing an extending writing surface to the reverse, the central ratcheted slide inlaid with a coronet. The knee-hole to the front flanked by two deep drawers, inlaid with a geometric patterns and released by a hidden mechanism below each drawer, the sides and reverse similarly inlaid, the curved corners inlaid with a lozenge pattern, the whole raised on four shaped and turned legs, each inlaid with tapering striped decoration.

This remarkable desk, a tour de force of the marqueteur’s art, is intentionally devoid of handles or mounts so as not to disturb the visual flow of the all over geometric marquetry. The keyholes are concealed behind hidden flaps and a system of secret slidable covers conceal buttons which when depressed, cause the drawers and slide to be released by spring loaded action. The inclusion of a boldly conceived ducal coronet in marquetry indicates that the piece was made as a special commission as a prestigious piece of library furniture for a member of the Italian aristocracy. 

Full research report available on request.