Writing table

Roger Vandercruse, called Lacroix French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 539

The writing drawer contains a slide covered with modern tooled green leather and fitted with three gilt-metal containers for pens, sand, and an inkwell. The two lower drawers are treated as though they were a single panel, veneered with continuous floral marquetry and framed by a gilt-bronze molding of entwined-rope design chased with beading. The overall shape of this table and the style of floral marquetry with endcut kingwood suggests a date early in Lacroix’s career when he was still working under the influence of Oeben. The marquetry and cabriole legs in combination with fully neoclassical mounts denote a transitional table. The mounts and marquetry are found on other pieces by Lacroix, particularly the central ornamental motif of the foliated wheel inlaid on both top and lower shelf, a motif that he often repeated. It was used on small transitional tables;[1] on a group of neoclassical bonheurs du jour;[2] and on a group of neoclassical upright secretaries where the motif is combined with cornflower marquetry in diamond reserves.[3] Lacroix also made this shape of table as a combined toilet and writing table; an example that repeats some of the same mounts, although veneered with a more naturalistic floral marquetry, was in the René Fribourg collection.[4]

[Bill Rieder, 1984]

[1] Examples are in the Musée Cognacq-Jay, Paris (E. Jonas, comp., Collections leguées à la ville de Paris par Ernest Cognacq, Paris, 1930, p. 88, no. 401) and a table formerly in the Heywood-Lonsdale collection (sale, Christie’s, London, June 6, 1957, lot 155).

[2] One in the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, New York (F. J. B. Watson, The Wrightsman Collection, New York, 1966, I, pp. 180–81, no. 103); another formerly in the collection of Mrs. Derek Fitzgerald (sale, Sotheby’s, London, November 22, 1963, lot 134); and two formerly at Kraemer & Cie, Paris (P. Verlet, Les Ebénistes du XVIIIe siècle français, 1963, p. 169, fig. 2; Connaissance des Arts no 285 [November 1975], p. 37 [advertisement]).

[3] One is published in G. Janneau, Le Meuble léger en France, Paris, 1952, p. 353, figs. 194, 195; two were formerly in the collection of Mrs. Alexander Hamilton Rice, New York (sale, Sotheby’s, New York, October 3, 1970, lots 146, 147); at Dalva Brothers, Inc., New York, 1983.

[4] P. Verlet, Les Ebénistes du XVIIIe siècle français, 1963, p. 167, figs. 2, 3.

Writing table, Roger Vandercruse, called Lacroix (French, 1727–1799), Oak, veneered with rosewood, endcut kingwood, banding of holly, gilt-bronze, French, Paris

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