This spectacular gaming/writing table belongs to a small distinguished group sharing the same characteristics of a lavish use of kingwood veneers in elaborate geometric parquetry design, complex undulating outline combined with an extra leg at the rear opening to reveal a folding writing interior. The group includes an example formerly in the collection of Jane, Countess of Westmoreland, Cotterstock Hall, Northamptonshire in the J.Paul Getty Museum, Malibu (illustrated in C.Bremer-David, An Illustrated Summary Catalogue of the Collection of the J.Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, 1993, p.49, no. 62, which is virtually identical except that it lacks the angle mounts . Another example, formerly in the collection of Mme. Henry Farman, was sold Palais Galliéra, Paris, 15 March 1973, lot 122. An example of triangular form with closely related angle mounts and parquetry veneers and stamped by Jean-Baptiste Galet (probably in the capacity of a retailer), is in the James A. de Rothschild collection, Waddesdon Manor (illustrated in G. de Bellaigue, The James A. de Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor: Furniture, Clocks and Gilt-Bronzes, Fribourg, 1974, vol.I, pp.390-394, no.81). Such elegant games tables exemplify the passion for card games of all types in eighteenth century France. It was the main indoor pastime of Louis XV's court and indeed the duc de Luynes, chronicler of daily life at the court, would actually record the rare days when the King did not play. The celebrated marchand mercier Lazare Duvaux records numerous games tables sold between 1748 and 1758, designed for particular games such as piquet, brelan, quadrille and trictrac. On 9 August 1953 he sold to Mme. de Pompadour
Une table de quadrille, de bois d'acajou massif ,...., brisée en angle ..,.85l
Several folding games tables were recorded in the inventory of Mme. de Pompadour's effects drawn up after her death in 1764.
Although a direct attribution cannot be made for this fascinating group of games tables ,the sophistication of their design and the high quality of the execution points to a leading ébeniste. One candidate might be Pierre II Migeon (1701-1758), who is known to have specialized in the type of complicated parquetry designs seen on these tables .It is also interesting to note that the Journal de la Garde Meuble de la Couronne lists several games tables supplied by Antoine- Robert Gaudreaux, ébéniste du Roi from 1740, many of which were veneered with kingwood, rosewood or purplewood.