Combined work, writing, and reading table and music stand

Martin Carlin French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 529

This table, with its ebony veneer and Japanese lacquer panel inset in the top, further enriched with delicate gilt-bronze mounts, embodies the taste for novelty and multi-purpose furniture in late eighteenth-century France. The top of this reading, writing and music stand is hinged and can be angled to provide a slope, and the drawer includes a writing surface. Novel pieces like this presented an opportunity for their owners to show their sophistication, by using the object to display the elegance with which they adjusted the mechanisms and their mastery of the different activities for which it was intended. The main market for such luxury furniture was among rich and fashionable women, who would have used such pieces in their salons or dressing rooms. This table may have been supplied by one of the well-known mid-eighteenth-century Paris marchands merciers (dealers in luxury goods), Simon-Philippe Poirier or Dominique Daguerre

Combined work, writing, and reading table and music stand, Martin Carlin (French, near Freiburg im Breisgau ca. 1730–1785 Paris), Veneered on oak with ebony, tulipwood, and black and gold Japanese lacquer;  mounts chased and gilded bronze, French

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