This desk, with two lower banks of drawers and six rather than four spirally-turned legs above the stretchers, aspires to the form of the French bureau mazarin. Its lozenge-and auricular-form inlay in richly figured walnut and ebony, as well as the use of ivory suggests a Brunswick origin. A related desk, made for Duke Anton-Ulrich von Braunschweig-Wolfenbuttel, is inlaid with the date 1694 and is now in the Kunstgewerbe Museum Berlin (see G. Ellwood, "Three Brunswick Desks", in "Furniture History Society Journel", vol. XXXV, 1999, pp.42-50). The legs are of a similar, less elaborate, flat twist, and the panelling is also simplified. The flat stretchers with moulded edges and flat bun feet are very similar, as are the ring handles, though on different back-plates. The connection of this present piece with Brunswick is reinforced by the existence of a guild box (zunfschatulle) in the Städtisches Museum there, which apparently has the same marquetry. (We are grateful to Reinier Baarsen for this information.)
Another related piece of furniture, a travelling desk, dated 1683, made for Duke Bernhard I of Saxe-Meiningen, was recently on the market. It
was acquired by the Victoria & Albert Museum after its export from the United Kingdom had been stopped. A Brunswick origin for this piece of
furniture has been suggested, partly by comparison with the writing
table in Berlin referred to above (see Giles Ellwood, op. cit., pp. 42-50).
PARK HOUSE, ELMLEY
Park house, Elmley, the seat of the Davies Family no longer exists, having been demolished in the 1960s. It was included in the exhibition organised by Roy Strong, Marcus Binney and John Harris, The Destruction of the Country House, 1875-1975, 1974. John Harris describes the house as having an "austere stone-gabled exterior of c.1550 that belies its gorgeous early 18th century interiors". Its origin was in the mid-16th century, using some stone from Elmley Castle, half a mile to the south. In 1702, it was entirely remodelled and enlarged, and it would be logical for this desk to have arrived at this time.