This magnificent sécretaire and its companion commode are faithful reproductions of Jean-Henri Riesener's celebrated suite of furniture commissioned in 1783 for Marie Antoinette's cabinet intérieur at Saint-Cloud. The originals, now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, are among the highlights of the Museum's collection and are considered to be the 'jewel in the crown' of Riesener's oeuvre.
In his book Les Bronzes Dorés du XVIII Siècle, Pierre Verlet initially suspects that the present commode and sécretaire are possibly by the hand of Riesener, as they appeared to him to be of almost identical beauty, casting and construction. However, it is upon further inspection that Verlet becomes unnerved to find that these pieces lack the MA Garde Meuble stamp as well as the subsequent Saint-Cloud inventory marks which would secure manufacture and authorship. Additionally, both pieces bear the stamp of F. LeFran[c], a previously unrecorded ébéniste, though Verlet supposes they were executed during the reign of Napoleon III. While the markings on these pieces certainly stir speculation with regard to firm attribution, the quality of the craftsmanship, while undoubtedly 19th century, is an homage to Riesener's mastery in the 18th century.