Antique Ormolu Mounted Bureau Plat Desk Hopilliart Paris 18th Century

GBP 18,850.00

Contact Dealer To Purchase

Object Description

This is a fine and rare antique ormolu mounted French kingwood and marquetry bureau plat, Circa 1790 in date.

It has highly decorative ormolu mounts that are signed VD on the underside.

The shaped rectangular top has a decorative ormolu border which is inset with a superb shaped gilt-tooled browny-gray leather writing surface. It has one long central and two short shaped frieze drawers on one side and false drawers on the other. It is raised on cabriole legs headed by stunning scrolled acathus foliate espagnolettes and terminating in ormolu sabots.

It is freestanding and finished with beautiful foliate marquetry on all sides so that it can stand freely in the centre of your room.

Complete with the original working locks and key.

The locks are stamped VF Paris with the crossed keys mark.

The underside of the desk is stamped in ink: ‘HOPILLIART et LEROY, 13 RUE DES ST. PERES, PARIS’

The Maison Hopilliart was established in 1781 and still operates on the Rue des Saints-Pères under the name of Galerie Hopilliart Leroux. Marcel Proust was one of their more famous clients, purchasing numerous items there and even selling some of his own furniture through them. In a 1912 letter to his friend, the composer Reynaldo Hahn, Proust mentions a pair of tables de salon that Hahn examined for him at Hopilliart.

This is a truly lovely piece which will display beautifully in any interior.

In excellent condition having been beautifully cleaned, polished, waxed and releathered in our workshops, please see photos for confirmation.

Dimensions in cm:
Height 81 x Width 196 x Depth 97

Dimensions in inches:
Height 2 foot, 8 inches x Width 6 foot, 5 inches x Depth 3 foot, 2 inches

Ormolu (from French ‘or moulu’, signifying ground or pounded gold) is an 18th-century English term for applying finely ground, high-carat gold in a mercury amalgam to an object of bronze.The mercury is driven off in a kiln leaving behind a gold-coloured veneer known as ‘gilt bronze’.

The manufacture of true ormolu employs a process known as mercury-gilding or fire-gilding, in which a solution of nitrate of mercury is applied to a piece of copper, brass, or bronze, followed by the application of an amalgam of gold and mercury. The item was then exposed to extreme heat until the mercury burned off and the gold remained, adhered to the metal object.

is a classic furniture wood, almost exclusively used for inlays on very fine furniture. Occasionally it is used in the solid for small items and turned work, including parts of billiard cues, e.g., those made by John Parris. It is brownish-purple with many fine darker stripes and occasional irregular swirls. Occasionally it contains pale streaks of a similar colour to sapwood.

The wood is very dense and hard and can be brought to a spectacular finish. it turns well but due to its density and hardness can be difficult to work with hand tools. It also has a tendency to blunt the tools due to its abrasive properties.

Our reference: A2147

Object Details

  • material
  • dimensions
    W:196 x H:81 x D:97 centimeters
  • period
  • country
  • year
    Circa 1790

Dealer Opening Times

We are open weekly as follows:

9:00 - 17:00
9:00 - 17:00
9:00 - 17:00
9:00 - 17:00
9:00 - 17:00

Dealer Contact

+44 (0)20 8809 9605

Dealer Location

Manor Warehouse
318 Green Lanes
N4 1BX

Please note that we are also open on alternate Saturdays. Please call to confirm.

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