Robb Design Portfolio: Writ for a Queen

  • The Louis XVI–style desk (price available upon request) was used by the queen at the Petit Trianon.
  • The Louis XVI–style desk (price available upon request) was used by the queen at the Petit Trianon.
<< Back to Robb Report, February 2009

Marie Antoinette’s custom desk.

Neither the many accolades heaped upon nor the charges leveled at Marie Antoinette during and after her lifetime—Queen of Fashion and Style, Queen of Prodigal Spending and Debt—include the adjective literary. Nevertheless, while at the Petit Trianon, the French queen’s much-cherished retreat on the grounds of Versailles, she likely executed her letters at this desk.

Created for the queen by one of her favorite cabinetmakers, Jean-Henri Riesener, the Louis XVI–style writing table has a veneer of precious woods and elaborately chased, pierced, and gilded bronze mounts; the rectangular reliefs depict the arts and sciences. The piece is ink-marked "du Nº 84" and fire-marked "Garde Meuble de la Reine" (furniture keeper for the queen) and "CT" (for "Château de Trianon"). Its owner—Parisian antiques firm Kraemer & Cie (+33.1.45.63.2446)—believes the piece is the only example of the queen’s writing desks of this size and quality still in private hands.

He played the guitar when composing such classics as I Want to Hold Your Hand and Please Please Me…
Photo by Eric Stoner
The artist’s works will be on display at the Hirschl & Adler gallery in New York City this...
Auction items will include early comics, collectibles, and Simon’s The Simpsons pinball machine…
Ferrari’s track-only hybrid supercar is now available in 1:8 scale…
Photo by Estate of Pablo Picasso Artists Rights Society, New York
Picasso’s Les Femmes d’Alger selling for $179.4 million in May is one of many recent examples…
Photo by Randall Cordero
How an Internet entrepreneur assembled a world-beating collection of arcade games…
Photo by Cordero Studios/www.corderostudios.com
A Southern California homeowner has an incredible 1,200-square-foot shrine to America’s pastime…
Photo by Iwan Baan
This September, a highly anticipated contemporary art museum—the Broad—will open in downtown Los...
How much does baseball outpace other sports memorabilia? A look at the record-setting prices for...
Photo by Tom Forsyth and Ron Jarrell
With more than 275 million game sets sold in the past century, Monopoly is the most popular board...