Publication and Display
A milestone book has been published. Jean-Henri Riesener. Cabinetmaker to Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette is the first full-length monograph on Riesener.
It traces his life and career, bringing new insights into his business practice, his designs and construction techniques.
Drawing on the evidence from the Riesener Project, the authors examine the objects and their history, as well as highlighting the changing tastes of the nineteenth-century collectors who acquired so many former French royal pieces.
The book, published by Philip Wilson Publishers, includes contributions from Christian Baulez, former Curator at the Château of Versailles, and curators and conservators from the Wallace Collection, the Royal Collection Trust, Waddesdon Manor, and other experts.
Stunning new photography and a unique visual glossary add another important resource for art historians, decorative arts enthusiasts and furniture lovers.
The work of the Project was celebrated in a major display at the Wallace Collection, which opened on 3 December 2020.
Various pieces of furniture made for Marie-Antoinette were brought together for the first time in one gallery to illustrate why it was that she found Riesener’s work so appealing.
In addition, the magnificent roll-top desk made for the comte d’Orsay in the early 1770s was displayed alongside the 1850s copy of Riesener’s most famous piece of furniture, the King’s Desk, from which it was derived.
It also highlighted the extraordinary levels of skill and craftsmanship displayed not only by Riesener and his workshop but also by his successors in the nineteenth century. Explore the comte d’Orsay’s desk here, and the copy of the King’s Desk here.