Bernard II van Risen Burgh, maître in 1730.
Bernard Van Risen Burgh, known by his initials as BVRB, was one of the most celebrated ébénistes of his era. He worked almost exclusively for the foremost Parisian marchands-merciers of the mid-18th Century such as Thomas-Joachim Hébert, Lazare Duvaux and Simon-Philippe Poirier. They supplied BVRB with the rich and exotic materials such as Japanese lacquer and Sèvres porcelain, which were incorporated into his finest pieces and sold to the most prestigious clientele.
Although BVRB collaborated with different marchands and was constrained by their individual demands, he developed a highly personal and distinctive style which makes his work instantly recognizable. Perhaps the most significant sign is the exceptional quality of his mounts. Their impeccable ciselure lends them a sculptural fluidity unmatched by his contemporaries and most are unique to his oeuvre. This not only identifies his work but also suggests that unlike other ébénistes, he either designed his own mounts or retained a bronzier for his exclusive use. BVRB is also credited with reviving the great marquetry tradition of Louis XIV masters such as André-Charles Boulle, and especially the development of a particularly refined form of end-cut marquetry known as 'bois de bout' marquetry. This technique which he employed frequently is featured on the top of the table offered here.
This elegant table belongs to small identifiable group, all stamped by or attributed to B.V.R.B. From the extant number, it is likely that this group of small bois de bout marquetry tables were all made for sale by the same marchand-mercier, probably Lazare Duvaux, who is known to have supplied furniture by van Risen Burgh to Madame de Pompadour (F.J.B. Watson, The Antique Collector, December 1960, p. 227ff.). These tables have minor variations in the shape of the apron, the design of the ormolu mounts and the marquetry but the main difference is in the design of the top. One group is designed for writing with a fixed top, often more than one writing surface and a lateral drawer fitted with an inkwell. The other group, as seen in the present lot, has a hinged top and opens to a fitted interior designed for arranging ribbons and toiletries.
Related examples by BVRB include two tables in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (F.J.B. Watson, The Wrightsman Collection, New York, 1966, vol. 1, cat. nos. 125 and 126), Most recently, four were sold from the Collection of Dr. Peter D. Sommer at Christie’s, London, 4 December 2014, lots 10 (£104,000), 115 (£122,500), 116 (£122,500) and 117 (£98,500).