Two framed vintage prints of King Louie the XV and XVI desk

These vintage prints are of a desk the is considered to be one of the finest pieces of furniture ever made. It is a front and back view of The Bureau du Roi (‘King’s desk’), known in France as the Secrétaire cylinder de Louis XV (“Louis XV roll-top secretary”), is the name given to the richly ornamented royal Cylinder desk whose construction was started under Louis XV and finished under Louis XVI of France. It is the most lavishly decorated desk ever made.
19 ¼” wide x 14 ½.” high and printed around 1920


The Le Bureau du Roi was started in 1760 when the commission was formally announced. Its first designer was Jean-Franois Oeben, the master cabinet maker of the royal arsenal. The first step in its construction was the fabrication of a highly detailed miniature model in wax. The full-scale desk was finished in 1769 by his successor, Jean Henri Riesener, who had married Oeben’s widow. Made for the new Cabinet du Roi at the Palace of Versailles, it was transferred to the Louvre Museum in Paris after the French Revolution but was returned to the Palace of Versailles in the 20th century where it stands again in the room where it was standing before the Revolution. The Bureau du Roi served both Louis XV and Louis XVI and was privy to the letters of support of the American Revolution.

The desk is covered with intricate marquetry of a wide variety of beautiful woods.  Gilt-bronze moldings of plaques, statuettes, miniature busts and vases, even integral scrolling gilt-bronze candle stands, further adorn the surfaces of the desk. The original design was to have a small bust of Louis XV on top, but it was replaced by Minerva after his death in 1770.

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