Jean-Henri Riesener, maître in 1768.
This impressive bureau plat bears a label and stamps from the Restauration period for the Palais des Tuileries. Known as the château de Tuileries during the ancien régime, Marie Antoinette ordered an important group of furniture from Riesener for her appartements there in 1784, as she found its central location more convenient than Versailles when attending festivities in the city. It later of course became her 'gilded prison' when she and the king were forced to relocate there from Versailles after the onset of revolution. However, in the absence of any further inventory numbers or the brand of the Tuileries from the Louis XVI period, it is impossible to determine the specifics of Riesener's original commission for this desk.
Napoleon moved to the Tuileries in 1800 and made it his principal residence, as did all of France's rulers until it was destroyed in 1870. He refurbished it in typically opulent style, employing the court architects Percier and Fontaine, although much of the Louis XVI furniture remained there into the Restauration period.
The Maison Carlhian was founded in Paris in January 1867 by Anatole Carlhian (d.1904) and Albert Dujardin-Beaumetz (d.1906). Initially established in the rue Beaurepaire, in 1906 the sons of Anatole Carlhian, Paul and Andri, inherited the business and they subsequently moved it to 24 rue du Mont-Thabor. Specialising in 'menuiserie, peinture et de tapisserie', the firm retailed and owned an extensive collection of period specimen chairs and furniture, and they were principally patronised by Duveen Brothers. Subsequently renamed 'societé Carlhian' in 1930, the firm established a New York branch and flourished until 1975.