An exquisite and rare, large mid-19th century French writing slope lap desk, ecritoire, quarter veneer trimmed by ornate gilt bronze mounts and a large central Sevres style plaque.
The lap desk is beautiful, edged by ornate gilt bronze mounts while also trimmed by ebonized wood inlay in a serpentine pattern. It rests on four ornate bronze feet, and the edges of the base mirrors the serpentine pattern of the ebonized veneer. The lid bears an ornate gilt bronze lock, with a likewise elaborate key. Working lock and key.
The central Sevres style plaque is magnificent, exceptionally detailed and wonderfully hand painted using the tiniest of brush strokes of bright and vibrant colors. The plaque depicts two adorable cherubs, one playing a flute while the other holds a book (possibly sheets of music) in his hands. They are portrayed amongst a bank of clouds, surrounded by an array of vivid flowers, all the while attracting a pair of colorful inquisitive birds. The plaque is trimmed by raise gold enamel florals, atop a celeste blue background and signed with the artist initials AM.
The interior bears a three part sectional compartment to house letters and other important paperwork while the bottom portion opens to a red velvet lap desk, edged by brass inlay.
This lap desk illustrates all the signs of superb quality and fine craftsmanship, signed by the preeminent French maker: Tahan, master cabinetmaker to Emperor Napoleon III, ébéniste de l'Empereur, and such works by him are well sought after. The signature also bears his title: Fr. Du Roi (((which stands for Fournisseur du ROI))) and bears the manufacture’s address of Rue de la Paix 30.
Measures 13 1/8” length x 12 ¼” deep x 8 5/8” tall, the desk opens to about 16 ½”.
The lap desk is in very nice condition for its nearly 150+ year age. The hinges are in good working order and the lap desk has a working lock and original key. There appears to have been a small amount of repair to the veneer, mostly along the edges of the base. Signs of age and wear include some scuffing to the veneer, mostly around the lock and the lid where its been handled the most. The velvet lining the lap desk interior is in good condition, still plush and soft to the touch