Display | Spotlight on French Royal Furniture by Riesener

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on April 21, 2016


Installation view of A Closer Look: Spotlight on French Royal Furniture by Jean-Henri Riesener (1734–1806) in the White Drawing Room at Waddesdon Manor, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust), 23 March – 23 October 2016. © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor. 

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Press release for the display now on view at Waddesdon:

A Closer Look: Spotlight on French Royal Furniture by Jean-Henri Riesener (1734–1806)
Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire, 23 March — 23 October 2016

Curated by Ulrich Leben and Emily Roy

Waddesdon is unique in the world for having three extraordinary chests of drawers by Jean- Henri Riesener (1734–1806), two of which belonged to members of the French royal family. They are displayed in the White Drawing Room at Waddesdon for this special exhibition. The display allows visitors to look closely at these magnificent pieces and to learn about their design, technical construction, and fascinating history. It provides a rare opportunity to look in 360° at objects normally placed against walls.

You can see the magnificent chest of drawers commissioned by the Comtesse de Provence, sister-in- law of Louis XVI, magnificently veneered in purple heart, with marquetry of tulipwood, mahogany, sycamore, ebony, boxwood, casuarina, holly and burl wood with gilt-bronze mounts and marble top. She ordered this chest of drawers from Riesener on 8 February 1776 and it was delivered to her apartment in Versailles the following month. This was astonishingly fast for such a complex piece of furniture. Also in the collection is a chest of drawers for Louis XVI youngest sister Madame Elisabeth (1764–1794) for her coming of age at just 14 years old!

The exhibition includes a specially commissioned digital animation showing the construction of Madame Elisabeth’s chest of drawers and two films, produced by the J. Paul Getty Museum, showing the making of intricate marquetry and gilt-bronze mounts. The display marks the beginning of a research project—in collaboration with The Wallace Collection and The Royal Collection—which aims to learn more about Riesener, the techniques and materials he used, and the world of buying and making furniture in 18th-century France.

The curators would like to thank the following for their help with the preparation, design and installation of the exhibition: Colin Bailey, Vincent Bastien, Alexis Borde, Max Coppoletta, Fréderic D’Arras, Mike Fear, the J. Paul Getty Museum, Jürgen Huber, Helen Jacobson, Lindsay Macnaughton, David Mlinaric, Miriam Schefzyk, Christoph Vogtherr, and the Collections, Facilities, IT and Marketing Departments.

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Additional images are available here»

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