Louis XVI secretary cupboard by Christophe Wolff1 of 5 images

Louis XVI secretary cupboard by Christophe Wolff

120 000 €


Exceptional Louis XVI cabinet secretary attributed to Christophe Wolff, rectangular shape with raised and cut sides, in marquetry of precious wood in rosewood frames. It opens by a drawer, in its upper part, by a central flap discovering five compartments and six small drawers and by two leaves, in its lower part, discovering a large compartment and three drawers, including one making safety deposit box. It rests on a scrolled plinth. It is decorated with a very rich marquetry, in the neoclassical spirit, with architectural caprice motifs animated with characters on a harbour scene background, in a frame of flowery garland (flap), an upper frieze decorated with utensils and a central motif dedicated to love enriched with attributes, vases with flowered pedestals (leaves), beams of lictor and twisted columns (corners with cut-off sides) and scraps of foliated branches knotted and decorated with hunting attributes, on the sides. It presents a rich ornamentation of very finely chiseled and gilded bronze such as: gallery with gadroons, falls with channels and teeth of wolf, macaroons and rings of drawing, moulding with resaut, foliage rosettes, moulding with gadroons and leaf apron decorated with a fire pot. Grey veined white marble top. Louis XVI period furniture, circa 1780.

Christophe Wolff (1720 - 6 August 1795), received Master, on 10 December 1757 was first a free worker. This cabinetmaker of German origin worked on rue de Charenton and settled on rue Neuve-Saint-Denis in the 1770s. Its activity seems to have ceased at the beginning of the Revolution. His work, abundant, is characterized by an excellent quality of execution. He also shows a real talent as a marker, printing a very refined note on some of his works, most of them Louis XV or Transition. Finally, this craftsman left some mechanical furniture, such as the desk - in Capuchin -, forming happiness of the day, which possesses the Louvre.

Among the most remarkable pieces of his production, Louis XV chests of drawers with two drawers without crosspieces, with powerful curves, inlaid with large flowers in light wood in moving frames of violet wood; Louis XV secretaries, some with elegantly curved uprights, where the floral marquetry is, this time, treated in end wood; small tables, hairdressers, also decorated with flowers. Some pieces of furniture are more soberly covered with rosewood veneered in sheets with thwarted thread or in imitation Hungarian stitch, or in large polyloped reserves, such as a Louis XV secretary from the old Dubernet-Douine collection, sold in Paris on 16 May 1946 (No. 245), then again on 7 December 1949 (No. 132). Wolff sometimes uses European varnishes to decorate his Louis XV furniture with landscapes in Chinese taste. In 1986, Jean Lupu presented a curved chest of drawers at the Biennale des Antiquaires in the Grand Palais, and a doucine secretary sold successively in London in 1969 and in Monte Carlo in 1986. These two pieces of furniture are adorned with fine rocailles bronze frames.

In the category of Transition style works, it is necessary more particularly to retain chests of drawers with inlaid jump of Chinese scenes. One of them belongs to the Museum of Decorative Arts. Two others, fitted with bronze frames simulating arcades, went on sale, the first in Paris on 21 May 1926 (No 106), and the second, almost identical, in London on 20 March 1930 (lot No 146). Another chest of drawers, with Chinese characters evolving on tiles, was sold in Paris in 1983 with the Paniaga collection. To note again different furniture inlaid with attributes of Music, vases, utensils and also landscapes, with sometimes inlays of ivory, as those which one finds on certain works signed other cabinetmakers like Gilbert or Dautriche. The neo-classical style does not seem to have attracted much Christophe Wolff if we judge by the very small number of Louis XVI furniture bearing his stamp.


  • Time:18th century
  • Origin:France
  • Cabinet-maker:Christophe WOLFF
  • Material or technique:Marquetry
  • Sizes:100 x 143.5 x 38 cm (Width x Height x Depth)
  • Reference:2793

Conservation status

Really good condition


Le Mobilier Français du XVIIIème Siècle, pages 916 à 918, Pierre Kjellberg, Les Éditions de l'Amateur - 2002.


Ancienne Collection de Madame de Polès, Galerie Charpentier, Paris, 17-18 November 1936 (lot 209).

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