This bureau en pente has been firmly attributed to Jacques Dubois by Pierre Kjellberg in his Le Mobilier Français du XVIIIe Siècle, Paris, 1989, p. 268, fig. D. Indeed it shares all characteristics of other bureaux en pente stamped by this prolific maître. Jacques Dubois (1694 - 1763) worked as an ouvrier privilegié in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine before achieving his maîtrise in 1742. He was born in Pontoise in 1693 and was the half-brother of the great marchand-ébéniste Noël Gérard. As his workshop grew he increasingly employed the vernisseur Huitre who may have applied the japanned decoration surrounding the Japanese lacquer panels on the offered lot. Dubois did design and own the models for his mounts, subcontracting much of the casting to the bronziers Heban, Forestier and Castellier and the subsequent gilding to the doreur Nicholas-Claude Hamelin. Elected a juré of the guild in 1752, he was one of the most important cabinet-makers in the Louis XV period. Indeed, the inventory taken after his death revealed an extensive workshop with twelve workbenches and over one hundred pieces of furniture in various stages of completion.
This exquisite lacquer bureau illustrates the best of Dubois' oeuvre that is characterized by graceful lines and finely cast rococo mounts. The inventory taken after his death included a small group of costly pieces in Chinese or Japanese lacquer, listing 'un bureau en lac de Chine' and 'un petite secrétaire en lac de japon' each valued at '200 L'. It is probable that such pieces were supplied by Dubois to marchand-merciers, although his only links to such dealers that are known are with Bertin and the marchand-ébéniste Migeon, whose stamp appears next to his on a number of pieces of furniture.
Among the recorded examples of lacquer bureaux by Dubois, those in Japanese lacquer, the most prized and expensive form of lacquer used in this way, are rare. A related bureau attributed to Dubois, formerly in the collection of the Marquis de Breteuil at château de Breuil and subsequently in the Akram Ojjeh collection, was sold Christie's, Monaco, 11 - 12 December 1999, lot 51. Another example from the Keck collection, La Lanterne, Bel Air, California, was sold at Sotheby's, New York, 5 - 6 December 1991, lot 261.
The ink inscription and signature to the inside of the carcase appears to be that of an as of yet unidentified cabinet-maker supplying the carcase to Dubois for the application of the lacquer panels and the ormolu mounts.