C1780 Louis XVI French Port Secretaire a Abattant in Solid Satinwood and Ebony


There is a particular sub-section of 18th century French furniture called meuble de port. It is characterised by the use of exotic timbers in the solid, that would in Paris or Lyon be used sparingly as veneers. The timbers include mahogany, satinwood, ebony, rosewood, courbaril and amaranth.  As timber went inland from the ports it became increasingly expensive as it paid tax regularly along the route and as the substantial cost of transport accumulated. The main port towns were St Malo (now beautifully rebuilt after near complete destruction in the last World War), Nantes and Bordeaux.

This delightful Louis XVI secretaire a abattant ("drawbridge desk!") is in solid satinwood and striped ebony. As is characteristic of port pieces, there is no marquetry, and the effect is reliant on large flat planes of fine timber. I am particularly fond of the leg type on this desk. The top would probably originally had a marble panel, where we now a see a perfectly serviceable panel of Satin Birch. The woods are used as 3 mm thick veneers on the faces of the interior drawers. The secondary timber is oak. The gilt tooled leather writing surface is new. The original catches for the lower left door have been removed, and other catches installed.

Closed it is 133 cm tall, 91 cm wide and 42 cm deep. The writing surface is 75 cm wide by 54 cm deep.

Print or share this page

To enquire about this item, call on 03 9489 8467 or fill out the form below.

Send Enquiry
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.