Rolltop Desk

Desk by Bernard Molitor, reunts after designs by François Rémond, some mounts cast by Gambierabout 1785 - 1788

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

When the roll-top is raised, a writing slide may be pulled forward, revealing dummy drawer fronts that match the interior desk drawers above. Additional writing slides pull out at the sides, perhaps for assistants to take dictation. The desk was originally designed to sit in the middle of a room, where it could be seen from all sides; the gilt bronze mounts that decorate the lower frieze once continued around the back.

The ébéniste Bernard Molitor, who made this desk, received many commissions from the French court. Although scholars are unsure exactly who commissioned this grand piece, an entry in a sale catalogue of 1800, when it was sold at auction, described it as having come from the royal château of Saint-Cloud. A further clue to its original owner are the very small fleurs-de-lis, symbol of the monarchy, stamped on the drawer handle of the center drawer.

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  • Title: Rolltop Desk
  • Creator: Desk by Bernard Molitor, reunts after designs by François Rémond, some mounts cast by Gambier
  • Date: about 1785 - 1788
  • Location Created: Paris, France
  • Physical Dimensions: 137 x 181 x 87 cm (53 15/16 x 71 1/4 x 34 1/4 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Fir and oak veneered with mahogany and ebony; gilt-bronze mounts; "griotte" de Flandre marble top
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Object Type: Furniture
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 67.DA.9
  • Markings: Markings: Stamped "B. MOLITOR" on lip of left hand interior drawer.
  • Display Location: Currently on view at: Getty Center, Museum South Pavilion, Gallery S114
  • Department: Sculpture & Decorative Arts
  • Culture: French
  • Credit Line: Gift of J. Paul Getty
  • Classification: Decorative Arts