"Mazarin Desk In Boulle Marquetry"
A Mazarin desk in Boulle copper and pewter marquetry on a red tortoiseshell background with scrollwork and foliage scrollwork decorations. The uprights are decorated with consoles at the top. Inlaid on 3 sides, it rests on eight pilaster-shaped legs joined by a double H-shaped spacer and finished with bronze tops. It opens with nine drawers on the front, two of which are set back in the lower part of the middle of the box. The tray is surrounded by a chiseled and gilded bronze ingot mold.
The eight-legged desk is one of the jewels of 17th century furniture. It is improperly called "Mazarin", because it does not appear until around 1670, well after the death of the cardinal in 1661. Its structure makes it at first a very functional piece of furniture fulfilling simultaneously the functions of table and secretary, but soon, its rich ornamentation elevates it to the status of ceremonial and representation furniture.
Louis XIV period, end of the 17th century