Bureau – Plat (Writing Table)

Risenburgh, Bernard II van

A writing table made in Paris for the owner of Allerton Park, Yorkshire.

Made in Paris  for Richard Arundale of Allerton Park,Yorkshire , this table formed part of the furnishings either at  Allerton Park or at Arundale’s London house.  To design his Yorkshire house, Arundale commissioned John Vardy (1718-1765,) a celebrated eighteenth century architect.

 An elegant pen and wash drawing by Vardy shows that this writing table was originally surmounted by an imposing cartonnier with a clock, ormolu candlebranches and a sloping desk.  Both this and the table are recorded in an inventory made in 1774, but the cartonnier has since disappeared. 

 The table is veneered in kingwood and its rectangular top is lined with tooled red leather, rimmed by a moulded brass border. The frieze contains five drawers; the long central one is recessed and is flanked by a pair of narrow drawers concealed behind the shaped wings of the drawer fronts at either side. The tapering cabriole legs bear rich knee mounts of elaborately scrolled rococo design. 

Bernard van Risenburgh, the maker of this table, had become a tre-ebéniste by 1730 and the earliest precisely datable  bureau-plat  made by him was for the French  Dauphin at Versailles in 1745. It is thought that the most satisfactory provisional date for this piece is c. 1745. 

The table was bought with the aid of a contribution from the LACF in 1972. (Gilbert, C., Furniture at Temple Newsam House and Lotherton Hall, Vol. II, 1978) (Vardy’s drawing is now held in the Drawing Collection of the Royal Institute of British Architects.)

Bernard II van Risamburgh

Furniture: writing table kingwood, walnut rosewood

Other pieces in our collection

Sofa and side chairs

Fell, William and Turton, Lawrence

A sofa and four chairs

Chairs: H. 97; W. 71; D. 64. Sofa: H. 109; W. 211; D.74

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