The present magnificent grand piano is clearly based on King Louis XV’s unique roll top desk, known as the Bureau du Roi, which was of the most famous and highly copied works of 18th century French Furniture. The construction of this extraordinary piece began in 1760 by Jean-François Oeben, and was finally delivered to the king in May, 1769, after its completion by Oeben’s successor, Jean-Henri Riesener. This desk, which took numerous craftsman and “nine years of painstaking work to bring it to perfection”, dominated all of Riesner’s work.
The first 19th century copy of the celebrated Bureau du Roi was made in Paris by either Drexler or Drescher for the 4th Marquess of Hertford between 1853 and 1870, now part of the Wallace Collection in London. Another important copy was made by Henri Dasson in 1875 and exhibited at the Exposition Universelle of 1878. Alfred Beurdeley, Linke and Jean Henri Jansen to name a few also made copies of the desk in the 19th century.
Joseph-Émmauel Zwiener was equally fascinated with this desk and exhibited his copy at the Exposition de 1889. He also drew upon the unique design with the construction of this piano, incorporating the signature marquetry and elaborate gilt-bronze mounts directly inspired by the Bureau du Roi.
For a footnote on Zwiener, please see lot 238 in the present sale.
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