Bernard II van Risen Burgh, maître in 1730.
BVRB has been credited with reviving the fashion for floral marquetry decoration on furniture, a taste which had been out of favour since the Régence period. Indeed, the first deliveries of floral marquetry furniture to the Garde-Meuble were by the marchand-mercier Thomas-Joachim Hébert in 1745 for the Dauphin and the Dauphine at Versailles, and these were almost entirely by BVRB, embellished with his characteristic bois-de-bout marquetry of end-cut floral trails kingwood on a bois satiné and, subsequently, on a tulipwood ground.
Hébert's delivery to the Garde-Meuble, dated 18 February 1745 for Dauphine at Versailles included a bureau en pente of closely related from and decoration (A. Pradère, Les Ebénistes Français de Louis XIV à la Revolution, 1989, p. 192. fig. 179). Also stamped by BVRB and supplied for the cabinet de retraite de Madame la Dauphine, it is first described in the Journal du Garde-Meuble on 23 January 1745:-
No.1344 - Un secrétaire de bois satiné à fleur de placage de bois violet dans des compartiments de bois d'amarante, enrichi d'ornements, moulures, cartouches, encoignures, et pieds de bronze doré d'ormoulu. Le devant s'abat et forme une table couverte de velours bleu encastré qui se pose sur deux tirants mobiles de bois d'amarante terminés de boutons à dorer. En dedans sont six tiroirs, dont deux grands et quatre petits, dans l'un desquels à droite est un encrier, poudrier et une boîte à éponge de cuivre argenté, garnis de tapis bleu et bordés d'une petite tresse d'or. Long de 31 pouces sur 18 pouces de profondeur et 30 pouces de haut.
Of slightly smaller proportions (81.2cm x 83.9cm x 48.7cm) overall, the bois-de-bout marquetry sprays within amaranth C-scroll borders of the Dauphine's bureau are extremely similar in character to the decoration of the Alexander bureau. Other BVRB bureaux which share this characteristically sinuous shape include the particularly fine example in Japanese lacquer sold by French & Company, Christie's New York, 24 1998, lot 20 and another in blue lacquer illustrated A. Pradère, op. cit. , p. 192 fig. 178.
The Alexander bureau is of unusually large size - most other examples being less than 36in. wide - and must, therefore, have been commissioned by a person of considerable status. Indeed, only two larger BVRB bureaux are recorded, and these are both à dos d'âne. The first, now in the J. Paul Getty Museum (C. Bremer-David, Decorative Arts, An Illustrated Summary Catalogue of the Collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, 1993, p. 36, no. 41), was originally supplied to the fermier général François Balthazar Dangé (d.1777), whilst the other, almost certainly acquired by Baron Mayer Amschel de Rothschild for Mentmore Towers in the 19th Century, is now in the collection of the Earl of Rosebery at Dalmeny House, Scotland.