Joseph Stockel, maître in 1775.
Joseph Stockel (d. 1802) is first recorded in the rue de Charenton in 1769 but only received his maîtrise in 1775. He is most well-known for severely neoclassical furniture veneered in mahogany such as the bureau plat with fasciae-shaped legs probably supplied to the comte de Provence in 1785 and later transferred to the Assemblée nationale. He also supplied four commodes to the comte de Provence through the marchand-mercier Philippe-Ambroise Sauvage in 1786, which were then extensively modified by Benneman to make eight commodes. These commodes then returned to the cabinet du Conseil of Louis XVI at Compiègne and are today at Fontainebleau, Compiègne and the Louvre. Interestingly some of those commodes were adorned with porcelain plaques, making Stockel, along with Godefroy Dester the only ébénistes to use this type of embellishment that were not working for Daguerre and Poirier (such as Carlin, Leleu, RVLC, Saunier and Weisweiler).
It is exceedingly rare to find marquetry panels on the oeuvre of Stockel. With its pictorial marquetry depicting Italianate classical ruins, this small bureau à cylindre is related to pieces with similar marquetry stamped by several celebrated ébénistes. The pictorial marquetry panels were often based on engraved sources such as those of G.P. Pannini, Hubert Robert and P.-A. Machy. These pieces appear to have been made by one or a group of specialty marqueteurs who supplied either marchand-merciers or ébénistes such as Jacques Dautriche, Daniel Deloose, Pierre Denizot, Pierre Macret, Martin Ohnenberg, Nicolas Petit, Charles Topino, Christophe Wolff and Pierre Roussel. It is believed that many of these panels are the work of the specialist marqueteur André-Louis Gilbert (d. 1809), but it is probable that at an age of general interest in such panels, larger workshops would have had their own specialists (G. de Bellaigue, 'Engravings and the French Eighteenth Century Marqueteur', Burlington Magazine, May 1965, pp. 240 - 250 and July 1965, pp. 356 - 363).
This bureau à cylindre is particularly closely related to a larger example by Stockel from the collection of the Walter Horace Samuel, 2nd Viscount Bearstead, Upton Park, Banbury, Oxfordshire, that was sold at Christie's, London, 11 June 1992, lot 89, and later with Partridge (Partridge, Recent Acquisitions 1993, London, May-June-July 1993, cat. 26, pp. 64 - 65). Another example by Stockel with superstructure and less delicate ormolu mounts from the Edward James Collection, West Dean Park, Chichester, was sold Christie's, house sale, 2, 3 and 6 June 1986, lot 137, while one of similar form, but with marquetry trophies to the drawer fronts and sides as well as larger human figures to the top section was sold anonymously at Christie's, London 5 July 1928, lot 144 (then attributed to Georges Jansen).