The Coventry Secrétaire
Simon-Philippe Poirier, marchand-mercier, Paris, The 6th Earl of Coventry, Croome Court, Worcestershire, England, The Chester Beatty Collection, England, The Maharani of Baroda, Paris.
Museum purchase, European Art Trust Fund and gift of Mrs. Margaret G. Hindes Molarsky in memory of Barrett G. Hindes, by exchange
A fall front desk (secrétaire à abattant) in the late Louis XV style, decorated with floral and geometric marquetry, a marble top and with gilt bronze mounts. The drop front opens to reveal five silk-lined drawers, paper shelves and an embossed leather writing surface. The lower half has two doors that open to a compartment subdivided by a shelf. The piece is stamped B.V.R.B. and JME in the middle of the back. There are also ink inscriptions referring to the marchand mercier Poirier.
The secretaire has a slightly curved form and splayed sides with canted corners and raised on four short cabriole legs, it has a shaped upper doucine above the abattant. Inside the front is a serpentine shelf, two pigeon-holes and four small drawers, one of them fitted with silvered metal utensils for ink, drying sand shaker, and sponge boxes. Between the small drawers is a marquetry sliding strong box with a hinged lid and lock. The sides display marquetry panels in the same manner as the front.