Jean-Henri Riesener (1734–1806) was one of the greatest French cabinetmakers of all time. From humble beginnings as a German immigrant in Paris, he found fame through the delivery of a magnificent roll-top desk to Louis XV in 1769 and went on to become Marie-Antoinette's favourite cabinetmaker, supplying the queen and the court of Louis XVI with sumptuous furniture of superb quality. Renowned for his exquisite marquetry and refined designs, his pieces were ornamented with spectacular gilt-bronze mounts made by some of the greatest metalworkers in Paris. In the nineteenth century, Riesener's name became associated with the very best of Louis XVI-period French furniture; his pieces continue to be highly sought after and are found in major museums worldwide.
This first major monograph on Riesener traces his life and career, bringing new insights into his business practice, his designs and construction techniques. Based on the extensive collections of Riesener furniture in the Wallace Collection, Waddesdon Manor and the Royal Collection, the authors examine the objects and their history, and highlight the changing tastes of the nineteenth-century collectors who acquired so many former French royal pieces. The new illustrations and visual glossary add another important resource for art historians, decorative arts enthusiasts and furniture lovers.
Authored by Helen Jacobsen, Rufus Bird, and Mia Jackson