Workshop of Gilles Joubert (French, 1689 ‑ 1775), Paris
Writing Desk, about 1755
Oak, pine, walnut, other woods, sea turtle shell, brass, gilded copper alloy (ormolu) mounts
41 5/8 × 57 3/4 × 23 5/8 in. (105.7 × 146.7 × 60 cm.)
Preston Pope Satterwhite Collection, by exchange 1958.8.3
Fit for a King
King Louis XV (1710 – 1744) of France, not surprisingly, could afford the very best, this desk included. It once graced one of his châteaux. When the desk first left the Paris workshop of cabinet- maker Gilles Joubert, it had black surfaces decorated with gold flowers in imitation of Japanese lacquer. Even though the taste for faux lacquer faded, the desk’s royal connection made it a desirable prize for later collectors. In the 1800s, its appearance was updated by covering the original surface with interlocking veneers of sea turtle shell and engraved brass flourishes.