the hinged divided top inlaid with a vase, birds, scrolling foliage and flowers and masks, above a fall-front inlaid to simulate three drawers, opening to reveal six short drawers, above a kneehole with a recessed cupboard inlaid with a vase of flowers, flanked on either side by two drawers, on eight square tapering legs joined by a shaped stretcher, on toupie feet, the whole inlaid with vases of flowers, parrots, birds, masks and scrolling foliage and trails of flowers
A. Pradère, French Furniture Makers, Tours, 1989, p.48.
The first record of this type of bureau to be delivered to the French Court appeared in 1669 in the Menus Plaisirs accounts and was made by Pierre Gole (c. 1620-84), Master before 1656, who can be credited with being the inventor of bureau of this form.
The term 'bureau mazarin' refers to a type of furniture that was supposedly first commissioned by Cardinal Mazarin and often executed by Pierre Gole (1620-1684) in floral marquetry. The present bureau is a perfect example of these very first models with the added feature of a rising superstructure making it a `bureau brisée'. However, soon Boulle marquetry inlay of brass, pewter and tortoiseshell became more fashionable.
Pierre Gole, born in Holland, settled at a young age in Paris where his career flourished and numerous pieces were commissioned from him by Louis XIV himself. Concentrating on floral marquetry he introduced these more Northern influences to the French decorative arts repertoire, which is reflected in the present bureau. The presence of vase and flower decoration is inspired by the paintings of Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer.
It is worthwhile comparing a bureau brisée formerly belonging to the late Sir Arthur Gilbert attributed to Pierre Gole, on an associated base, sold as lot 333, Christie's, New York, 21st October 2005 ($228,000).
Also see a bureau mazarin offered for sale in these Rooms as lot 75, 12th March 1997 (£133,500).
See also lot 184, sold from the Estate of the late Princess Pio de Savoia, in these Rooms, 15th December 1999 and a bureau mazarin, sold as lot 435, Christie's, New York, 17th-18th May 2005.($66,000)
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