The marquetry was inspired by engravings published circa 1775 and are similar to the fishing and hunting trophies of Delafosse, engraved by Tardieu. The diversified ornamental repertoire used here announces the return of the taste for the antique, with elements such as the neoclassical vases on the frieze, combined with the more traditional designs of flowers and foliate scrolls within complex geometric frames. The precision of the marquetry, as well as the neatness of the engravings can be found on a ‘secrétaire à abattant’ stamped Schlichtig, sold Artcurial, Paris, 18 June 2013, lot 183. This ‘secrétaire’ has, as with our table, some ivory inlays which contrast with the adjacent veneer.
It is difficult to formally identify the craftsman who produced the marquetry on our table, but the impeccable technique, as well as the realism of the designs, tend to prove that he was highly specialised and able to provide marquetry panels to the renowned cabinet-makers and marchands-merciers of the time. The names of Louis-Noël Malle, Christopher Wolff, or André Louis Gilbert come to mind and Théodore Dell discussing a table exhibited in the Frick Collection, New York and stamped Malle, suggests that the latter, like his fellow cabinet makers, may have worked with subcontractors who specialised in marquetry panels.
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