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A Louis XIV Period Desk Returns to Versailles

Published on , by Sophie Humann

Preempted in 2015 and now restored to its original form, an eight-legged desk—a masterpiece made for Louis XIV by the cabinetmaker Oppenordt—has recently returned to Versailles, where it is displayed in the Salon de l'Abondance.

Château de Versailles, Dist. RMN © Christophe Fouin A Louis XIV Period Desk Returns to Versailles

Château de Versailles, Dist. RMN © Christophe Fouin

There are two of these desks from the same workshop owned by cabinetmaker Alexandre-Jean Oppenordt (1639-1715), who received a commission before June 1685 for "compartments" for "two desks in His Majesty’s small room". This meant panels designed to cover the furniture veneered with ebony and Brazilian rosewood created by the designer of the King's bedchamber, Jean I Berain . On July 25, the cabinetmaker received 240 livres for this work. The son of a butcher from Guelders in Holland , Alexandre-Jean Oppenordt, arrived in Paris between 1655 and 1660 . He trained under the cabinetmaker César Campe, and had been working for a few months for the Bâtiments du Roi. One of the desks features première partie marquetry, with Louis XIV’s monogram and brass decoration in contrast against a scarlet-stained tortoiseshell background. This one is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The other, with contre-partie marquetry, had the same motifs but inverted, with the red tortoiseshell forming the design in the spaces left by the brass…
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