Antique Victorian Burr Walnut Bonheur Du Jour c.1860
Antique Victorian Burr Walnut Bonheur Du Jour c.1860
Antique Victorian Burr Walnut Bonheur Du Jour c.1860
Antique Victorian Burr Walnut Bonheur Du Jour c.1860
Antique Victorian Burr Walnut Bonheur Du Jour c.1860
Antique Victorian Burr Walnut Bonheur Du Jour c.1860
Antique Victorian Burr Walnut Bonheur Du Jour c.1860
Antique Victorian Burr Walnut Bonheur Du Jour c.1860
Antique Victorian Burr Walnut Bonheur Du Jour c.1860
Antique Victorian Burr Walnut Bonheur Du Jour c.1860

Antique Victorian Burr Walnut Bonheur Du Jour c.1860

c. 1860 England

Offered by Regent Antiques

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This is a gorgeous Victorian burr walnut and marquetry Bonheur Du Jour, or Ladies writing desk, circa 1860 in date. This is an example of superb quality and design.
The gorgeous grain and colour of the walnut, the fabulous inlay and the exquisite ormolu mounts ensure that this bureau de dame will get noticed wherever it is placed. The fall front opens to reveal a rosewood interior with a bank of three drawers and a slide that allows you to access the hidden space below.

The top has a pair of cupboards with glazed doors, ideal to display your ornaments, they flank a small drawer and an arched shaped mirror and it stands on beautiful cabriole legs that are adorned with ormolu mounts.

Complete with working locks and original keys.

This is a lovely piece which is sure to enhance any interior.


In excellent condition having been beautifully restored in our workshops, please see photos for confirmation.
Dimensions in cm:

Height 142 x Width 88 x Depth 54

Dimensions in inches:

Height 55.9 x Width 34.6 x Depth 21.3
A bonheur du jour (in French, bonheur-du-jour, meaning "daytime delight") is a type of lady's writing desk. It was introduced in Paris by one of the interior decorators and purveyors of fashionable novelties called marchands-merciers about 1760, and speedily became intensely fashionable.

The bonheur du jour is always very light and graceful, with a decorated back, since it often did not stand against the wall but was moved about the room. Its special characteristic is a raised back, which may form a little cabinet or a nest of drawers, or open shelves, which might be closed with atambour may simply be fitted with a mirror. The top, often surrounded with a chased and gilded bronze gallery, serves for placing small ornaments. Beneath the writing surface there is usually a single drawer, often neatly fitted for toiletries or writing supplies.

Early examples were raised on slender cabriole legs; under the influence of neoclassicism, examples made after about 1775 had straight, tapering legs. The marchand-mercier Simon-Philippe Poirierhad had the idea of mounting bonheurs du jour with specially-made plaques of Sèvres porcelainthat that he commissioned and for which he had a monopoly; the earliest Sèvres-mounted bonheur du jours are datable from the marks under their plaques to 1766-67. The choicer examples of the time are inlaid with marquetry or panels of Oriental lacquer, banded with exotic woods, with gilt-bronze mounts.

By the mid-1770s the bonheur du jour was being made in London, where it was simply called a "lady's writing-desk".

The Walnut woods are probably the most recognisable and popular of all the exotic woods, having been used in furniture making for many centuries. Walnut veneer was highly priced and the cost would reflect the ‘fanciness’ of the veneer – the more decorative, then the more expensive and desirable.

Ormolu (from French 'or moulu', signifying ground or pounded gold) is an 18th-century English term for applying finely ground, high-carat gold in a mercury amalgam to an object of bronze.The mercury is driven off in a kiln leaving behind a gold-coloured veneer known as 'gilt bronze'.
The manufacture of true ormolu employs a process known as mercury-gilding or fire-gilding, in which a solution of nitrate of mercury is applied to a piece of copper, brass, or bronze, followed by the application of an amalgam of gold and mercury. The item was then exposed to extreme heat until the mercury burned off and the gold remained, adhered to the metal object.

No true ormolu was produced in France after around 1830 because legislation had outlawed the use of mercury. Therefore, other techniques were used instead but nothing surpasses the original mercury-firing ormolu method for sheer beauty and richness of colour. Electroplating is the most common modern technique. Ormolu techniques are essentially the same as those used on silver, to produce silver-gilt (also known as vermeil).

is decorative artistry where pieces of material (such as wood, mother of pearl, pewter, brass silver or shell) of different colours are inserted into surface wood veneer to form intricate patterns such as scrolls or flowers.

The technique of veneered marquetry had its inspiration in 16th century Florence. Marquetry elaborated upon Florentine techniques of inlaying solid marble slabs with designs formed of fitted marbles, jaspers and semi-precious stones. This work, called opere di commessi, has medieval parallels in Central Italian "Cosmati"-work of inlaid marble floors, altars and columns. The technique is known in English as pietra dura, for the "hardstones" used: onyx, jasper, cornelian, lapis lazuli and colored marbles. In Florence, the Chapel of the Medici at San Lorenzo is completely covered in a colored marble facing using this demanding jig-sawn technique.

Techniques of wood marquetry were developed in Antwerp and other Flemish centers of luxury cabinet-making during the early 16th century. The craft was imported full-blown to France after the mid-seventeenth century, to create furniture of unprecedented luxury being made at the royal manufactory of the Gobelins, charged with providing furnishings to decorate Versailles and the other royal residences of Louis XIV. Early masters of French marquetry were the Fleming Pierre Golle and his son-in-law, André-Charles Boulle, who founded a dynasty of royal and Parisian cabinet-makers (ébénistes) and gave his name to a technique of marquetry employing tortoiseshell and brass with pewter in arabesque or intricately foliate designs.

Our reference: 05789
Stock Code
Regent Antiques

Regent Antiques
Manor Warehouse
318 Green Lanes
N4 1BX

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