Roll-top writing desk and cartonnier

François Gaspard Teuné (born in 1726), master in 1766
Paris, c. 1770
Carcase of oak and resinous wood, marquetry of tulipwood, amaranth and sycamore maple
Gift of Vicomtesse de Poncins, née Biencourt, wife of Vicomte Edmond de Poncins, 1946
Inv. 35402
© Les Arts Décoratifs

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Roll-top desks appeared in the mid-eighteenth century. The first models – such as those delivered by Jean-François Oeben and Pierre Garnier – featured a slatted wooden panel. Later designs, illustrated by this piece by François Gaspard Teuné, had a two-part cylinder top, part of which could slide into the back compartment. The model that came to dominate was the one with a single cylinder.

This writing desk reflects the simplification of Rococo curves, which lost their extravagance, becoming flowing lines that were set off by marquetry trim.

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