Antique Neoclassical Style Writing Desk with Porcelain Mounts by Donald Ross
English, Late 19th Century
Dimensions: Height 133cm, width 108cm, depth 61cm
This beautiful writing desk is a ‘bonheur du jour’, a type of desk traditionally used by upper class French ladies. The style particularly became popular in the 1760s under the reign of Louis XVI. Most were designed with a decorated back, so it could be moved around the room instead of being statically placed against a wall. Bonheur du jours were often situated in women’s bedrooms, where they served for breakfast as well as writing letters throughout the day.
This beautiful example is raised on four tapered square profile legs, which feature ormolu edges and feet. The main body of the desk is profusely crafted from fine parquetry in a latticework pattern. With two parquetry drawers, the apron of the desk is beautifully decorated with a centrally placed oval porcelain cartouche, surrounded with an ormolu frame. It is painted in the Sèvres style with a Rococo cherub and turquoise blue background.
The back of the desk features a pair of flanking sections, which each feature three parquetry drawers and a pierced ormolu gallery. The larger central section opens to reveal two shelves. The front of this cabinet door is also decorated with a Sèvres style porcelain mount, depicting an 18th Century couple against a turquoise and parcel gilt ground, surrounded with an ormolu frame.
The cabinetmaker, Donald Ross, was a celebrated English craftsman, well-known for his luxury furniture in the latter 19th Century. Ross exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London and his work was retailed by top Victorian furniture stores. An example of his distinctive dot trellis parquetry inlay (as seen in this present piece) is exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.