Introducing the ecritoire de voyage, a beautiful and functional travel desk hand-carved in France circa 1850. Constructed with a gorgeous burl elm exterior and brass elements reflecting the Napoleon III period (known as Second Empire) during which it was made. Second Empire pieces drew inspiration from multiple periods, and in this particular case, the ecritoire features motifs from the Empire period, which coincided with the reign of Napoleon III’s uncle, Napoleon Bonaparte. The elder Napoleon favored themes found in ancient civilizations, such as Rome, Greece, and Macedonia, reflecting his belief that he was a contemporary of the likes of Caesar, King Leonidas, and Alexander the Great.
The top lid showcases a putti cartouche, framed by delicate beading and intricately crafted flowers with charming bees. Additional motifs include cameos of regal women, scarabs symbolizing Egypt, and a delightful cartouche depicting two birds amidst a lush backdrop of flora and more beading. The desk’s functional design is equally captivating, with a shaped top lid that unfolds to reveal two slats and four small compartments, ideal for storing writing essentials like quills and paper. The lower section conceals a slim partition above a writing surface, elegantly lined with blue felt, and hidden storage that can be accessed by lifting the writing surface. A true testament to the artistry of its era, this cherished heirloom marries beauty and functionality, ideal for the discerning collector.
CONDITION: Very good antique condition, with very light age separations, nicks, and losses to wood. Light buildup to interior and a minor lift to the felt on the writing section. Functioning lock and key.