New Book | Jean-Henri Riesener

Posted in books by Editor on December 13, 2020

From Bloomsbury:

Helen Jacobsen, Rufus Bird, and Mia Jackson, eds., Jean-Henri Riesener: Cabinetmaker to Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette (London: Philip Wilson Publishers, 2021), 304 pages, ISBN: 978-1781300909, £50 / $100.

Jean-Henri Riesener (1734–1806) was one of the greatest French cabinetmakers of all time. From humble beginnings as a German immigrant in Paris, he found fame through the delivery of a magnificent roll-top desk to Louis XV in 1769 and went on to become Marie-Antoinette’s favourite cabinetmaker, supplying the queen and the court of Louis XVI with sumptuous furniture of superb quality. Renowned for his exquisite marquetry and refined designs, his pieces were ornamented with spectacular gilt-bronze mounts made by some of the greatest metalworkers in Paris. In the nineteenth century, Riesener’s name became associated with the very best of Louis XVI-period French furniture; his pieces continue to be highly sought after and are found in major museums worldwide.

This first major monograph on Riesener traces his life and career, bringing new insights into his business practice, his designs, and construction techniques. Based on the extensive collections of Riesener furniture in the Wallace Collection, Waddesdon Manor, and the Royal Collection, the authors examine the objects and their history and highlight the changing tastes of the nineteenth-century collectors who acquired so many former French royal pieces. The new illustrations and visual glossary add another important resource for art historians, decorative arts enthusiasts, and furniture lovers.

Helen Jacobsen is Senior Curator and Curator of French Eighteenth-Century Decorative Arts at the Wallace Collection. Rufus Bird is Surveyor of The Queen’s Works of Art. Mia Jackson is Curator of Decorative Arts at Waddesdon Manor.


The Cabinetmaker
• Christian Baulez, Jean-Henri Riesener: A Portrait Sketch
• Laura Langelüddecke, A German in Paris
• Carolyn Sargentson, Jean-Henri Riesener and the Business of Furniture-Making
• Lindsay Macnaughton, A Question of Language: The Royal Furniture Administration’s Accounts
• Mia Jackson, ‘Executed in the Taste of Painting’: Riesener’s Marquetry Designs
• Juliet Carey, Jean-Henri Riesener: The Portraits

The Collectors
• Rufus Bird, From Versailles to Windsor Castle: George IV and Riesener
• Helen Jacobsen, Alteration and Appropriation: The 4th Marquess of Hertford and the Taste for Riesener
• Ulrich Leben, Riesener and the Rothschilds at Waddesdon Manor
• Daniëlle Kisluk-Grosheide, Buying from Britain: The Development of a New Market

The Furniture
• Works in the Wallace Collection, the Royal Collection, and Waddesdon Manor

The Materials and Techniques
• Jürgen Huber, Materials and Techniques
• Alexander Collins, Visual Glossary


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