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Beautiful French Ebonised Boulle Ormolu Writing Table

Beautiful French Ebonised Boulle Ormolu Writing Table | Ref. no. 00157 | Regent Antiques Sold

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This is a beautiful ebonised Boulle style writing table with fabulous ormolu mounts, dating from the last quarter of the 20th century.

The  desk has elaborate ormolu mounts and an elegant leather writing surface and there are three drawers which provide ample storage space.

This gorgeous writing table is waiting to enhance your reception, office or home library.


In excellent condition, please see photos for confirmation of condition.


Dimensions in cm:

Height 82 x Width 140 x Depth 71

Height 66 x Width 124 - Kneehole Dimensions

Dimensions in inches:

Height 2 feet, 8 inches x Width 4 feet, 7 inches x Depth 2 feet, 4 inches

Height 2 feet, 2 inches x Width 4 feet, 1 inch - Kneehole Dimensions

Andre Charles Boulle (1642-1732), was a French cabinetmaker, who is generally considered to be the pre-eminent artisit in the field of marquetry. His fame in marquetry led to his name being given to a fashion of inlaying known as Boulle work or Buhl work.

Andre Boulle was the son of Jean Boulle, a member of a family of ebenistes who had already achieved distinction. Pierre Boulle, who died c. 1636, was for many years tourneur et menuisier du roy des cabinets. André became the most famous of his family. He was the second most prominent cabinetmaker; the first was Jean Mace who has acquired individual renown.

Boulle's skill and reputation must have begun at a comparatively early age; by age 30, he had already been granted one of those lodgings in the galleries of the Louvre which had been set apart by Henry IV for the use of the most talented of the artists employed by the crown. To be admitted to these galleries was not only to receive a signal mark of royal favor, but to enjoy the important privilege of freedom from the trammels of the trade guilds. Boulle was given the deceased Jean Mace's own lodging in 1672 by Louis XIV upon the recommendation of Colbert, who described him as le plus ha bile ébéniste de Paris, but in the patent conferring this privilege, he is described also as chaser, gilder and maker of marqueterie.

Ormolu (from French 'or moulu', signifying ground or pounded gold) is an 18th-century English term for applying finely ground, high-carat gold in a mercury amalgam to an object of bronze.The mercury is driven off in a kiln leaving behind a gold-coloured veneer known as 'gilt bronze'.

The manufacture of true ormolu employs a process known as mercury-gilding or fire-gilding, in which a solution of nitrate of mercury is applied to a piece of copperbrass, or bronze, followed by the application of an amalgam of gold and mercury. The item was then exposed to extreme heat until the mercury burned off and the gold remained, adhered to the metal object.

No true ormolu was produced in France after around 1830 because legislation had outlawed the use of mercury. Therefore, other techniques were used instead but nothing surpasses the original mercury-firing ormolu method for sheer beauty and richness of colour. Electroplating is the most common modern technique. Ormolu techniques are essentially the same as those used on silver, to produce silver-gilt (also known as vermeil).

Angelica Kauffman, RA (1741 - 1807)

was a Swiss-born Austrian Neoclassical painter who had a successful career in London and Rome. Though born as "Kauffmann", Kauffman is the preferred spelling of her name in English; it is the form she herself used most in signing her correspondence, documents and paintings.

While Kauffman produced many types of art, she identified herself primarily as a history painter, an unusual designation for a woman artist in the 18th century. History painting, was considered the most elite and lucrative category in academic painting during this time period. Under the direction of Sir Joshua Reynolds, the Royal Academy made a strong effort to promote history painting to a native audience who were more interested in commissioning and buying portraits and landscapes.

Despite the popularity that Kauffman enjoyed in British society and her success as an artist, she was disappointed by the relative apathy that the British had towards history painting. Ultimately she left Britain for the continent, where history painting was better established, held in higher esteem and patronized.

The works of Angelica Kauffman have retained their reputation. By 1911, rooms decorated with her work were still to be seen in various quarters. At Hampton Court was a portrait of the duchess of Brunswick; in the National Portrait Gallery, a self-portrait. There were other pictures by her at Paris, at Dresden, in the Hermitage at St Petersburg, in the Alte Pinakothek atMunich, in Kadriorg Palace, Tallinn (Estonia).


is a hard and durable wood with a satinlike sheen, much used in cabinetmaking, especially in marquetry. It comes from two tropical trees of the family Rutaceae (rue family). East Indian or Ceylon satinwood is the yellowish or dark-brown heartwood of Chloroxylon swietenia.

The lustrous, fine-grained, usually figured wood is used for furniture, cabinetwork, veneers, and backs of brushes. West Indian satinwood, sometimes called yellow wood, is considered superior. It is the golden yellow, lustrous, even-grained wood found in the Florida Keys and the West Indies.

It has long been valued for furniture. It is also used for musical instruments, veneers, and other purposes. Satinwood is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Sapindales, family Rutaceae.

Our reference: 00157

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