Roger van der Cruse, dit Lacroix, maître in 1755
Designed in the restrained neo-classical taste of the mid-1780's, this exceptional table à écrire is unusually refined in its carefully contrived, complimentary ornament between the mounts and the marquetry decoration, particularly the pearled swags to the legs. Although labelled by the little-known ébéniste Gruber, this table can convincingly be attributed to Roger van der Cruse, dit Lacroix, as the latter stamped an identical table now in the musée de Nissim Camondo, Paris. Formerly in the collection of the duc de Morny, the Nissim de Camondo table is discussed in B. Rondelet et al., Catalogue, Paris, 1998, p. 29, No. 131. A further table by RVLC of almost identical form and decoration, except for the entwined monogram MC inlaid into the top, was sold anonymously at Sotheby's New York, 17 November 1984, lot 268 ($104,500).
Gruber or Grubert, although only scantly documented, is first recorded around 1789 in the Faubourg-Saint-Antoine, before moving first to the rue Meslay and subsequently, in the early 19th Century, to the rue Neuve-Egalité. As his trade card reveals, he was both an ébéniste and a marchand, but the scale of his operations is not known. He was certainly aware of the prevailing fashions and quite capable of supplying copies of models by more celebrated contemporaries, however, as is revealed by the set of 12 mahogany chairs embellished with Etruscan motifs which he supplied to Frost in 1789, which were directly inspired by the contemporary set of chairs designed by Jacques-Louis David and supplied by Georges Jacob (maître in 1765).