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Boulle Writing Desk

Boulle Writing Desk

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TitleBoulle Writing Desk
ArtistBoulle, André Charles (French, 1642-1732)
Tortoise shell over Chinese Red lacquer inlaid in brass
Dimensions30.5 x 21 x 30.75, 56.5 total height

Catalog NumberDC281
LocationOlive DeLuce Fine Arts Building, Percival DeLuce Memorial Gallery


This rare French desk was likely made by Andre Charles Boulle (1642-1732), the cabinet-maker to Louis XIV. These desks were made in the first part of his career and were not signed. It is inlaid with tortoise shell over Chinese Red lacquer and inlaid with brass and has thin cabriole legs other parts painted with black lacquer and is decorated with gilt cast metal ornaments. It has one center drawer below with a lift-up writing surface. The upper part has two side-by-side drawers and two doors above with enclosed shelves. The top portion rests with pegs on the lower desk. This desk was used by Percival DeLuce in his studio as seen in photographs and is included in several of his paintings, most clearly in The First Letter.

Desk materials: tortoise shell over Chinese Red lacquer inlaid in brass. Other parts: black lacquer with gilt cast metal ornaments; thin cabriole legs; lower part has single drawer with inner, lift-up writing surface; upper part rests on lower with wood pegs, upper has 2 side-by-side drawers with 2 doors enclosing shelves above. Likely made by Boulle, cabinet-maker to Louis XIV; desks were made in first part of Boulle's career; his work was not signed, that of his followers/imitators often signed with his name; desk was used by Percival DeLuce in his studio as seen in photos and appears in several paintings most clearly in "The First Letter."