Jean-François Leleu, maître in 1764.
Jean-François Leleu was one of the favored assistants in the workshop of the great ébéniste Jean-François Oeben (1721-1763). After the early death of his master, he hoped to be entrusted with the running of the workshop, but was superseded by Jean-Henri Riesener (1734-1806), another of Oeben's assistants. Riesener married Oeben's widow and went on to become the court ébéniste of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie-Antoinette. Leleu left the workshop, became maître-ébéniste in 1764 and set up on his own. He attracted a grand and fastidious clientele, notably the Duc d'Uzés, Baron d'Ivry, and Ange-Laurent Lalive de Jully. By the early 1770s Leleu’s was known as the most important proponent of the avantgarde goût grec. Between 1772 and 1777 his most important patron was the prince de Condé, who commissioned a number of pieces from Leleu, including commodes for his daughter-in-law the duchesse de Bourbon, to furnish the Palais de Bourbon. Pieces from these and other important commissions are in the Wallace Collection, London, the Petit Trianon, and the Louvre.