Interestingly, the term of Bureau Mazarin probably refers to a type of bureau that was first commissioned by Mazarin and executed by Pierre Gole (circa 1620 - 1684) for Louis XIV. Mazarin never possessed such a bureau in his collections. Bureaux mazarins were inlaid either with floral marquetry, with a combination of naturalistic flowers and acanthus scrolls, or with Boulle marquetry in premire or contre-partie. Early works of Andr-Charles Boulle were however executed in floral marquetry. Particularly nice on this bureau mazarin are the contrasting scrolled foliate pewter borders.
A related bureau mazarin from the Trustees of the Swithland settled Estates, removed from Swithland Hall was sold in these Rooms, 7 December 1978, lot 99; while another sold anonymously in that same sale, lot 108.
Meaning of Ornament
The table-top, bordered by silvery acanthus-scrolls issuing from lilly-flowered corners, displays butterflies attending Flora's festive flower-basket. Its fretted ribbon lambrequin is enriched with triumphal palms and poetic laurels, while its plinth is attended by Jupiter's sacred eagles emerging from flowered acanthus scrolls. Tablets of flowered Roman acanthus embellish the front, while birds attend the vases displayed at the sides. The basket and vases derive from engravings of flower paintings in the manner of those executed by Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer; while the eagle border derives from Androuet Ducercau's, Divers Ornemens de feuillages en forme de Panneaux a l'usage de Ceux qui excercent le dessein'.