Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Writing table (bureau plat)

Jean-François Leleu (1729–1807, master 1764)
ca. 1780
Oak, veneered with mahogany, sycamore and holly; gilt bronze, leather
30 1/2 × 69 3/4 × 36 3/8 in. (77.5 × 177.2 × 92.4 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, 1972
Accession Number:
Not on view
This bureau plat by Jean-François Leleu exemplifies the Neoclassical style favored by elite French patrons at the end of the eighteenth century. Jean-François Leleu (1729–1807) was trained, alongside his rival Jean-Henri Riesener, in the workshop of Jean-François Oeben. Leleu became a master ébéniste in 1764 and enjoyed the patronage of wealthy aristocrats, including the Prince de Condé, Louis-Joseph de Bourbon. Similar to the pieces produced for the prince de Condé’s Palais-Bourbon, this table reflects the strong, masculine Neoclassical forms favored by Leleu, evidenced by the tapering architectural legs and gilt-bronze ornaments. A similar writing table is rendered in the 1808 portrait of Charles Maurice Talleyrand by François Gérard also in the museum’s collection (2012.348).

Yannick Chastang. Paintings in Wood: French Marquetry Furniture. London: The Wallace Collection, 2001.

Kahtyrn Calley Galitz, "François Gérard: Portraiture, Scandal and the Art of Power in Napoleonic France," The Metropolitan Musuem of Art Bulletin, LXXI: 1 (Summer 2013), 5–48.
Signature: Stamped beneath left-hand side rail toward back: J.F. LELEU, JME

Inscription: Written under central drawer: John Layton repaired/ April 3; Written beneath writing slide: Spencer
W. Angerstein, Esq. ; Baroness Nellie Lisa Helles Burton (until 1954; sale, Christie's, London, April 29, 1954, lot 113) ; Viscount Ednam (until 1958; sale, Sotheby's, London, May 16, 1958, lot 145) ; Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman , New York (until 1972; to MMA)
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