French Plat Desk in the Study
A little over a year ago, I stumbled upon a French plat desk at a local antique market. At first glance, I thought it was a reproduction, and after checking the ridiculously low price, I was sure of it.
I ended up buying the pretty Louis XV plat desk to go in my newly renovated study. Thinking it was a reproduction, I considered painting it, but never got around to it. As a matter of fact, it has sat in my living room for the last year, waiting for me to move it into the study. I finally got around to doing that a few weeks ago.
As I was moving the plat desk into the study, I re-visited the idea of painting it again.
It has lots of wear and problem areas to the veneer. I thought painting it in perhaps a while or black lacquer, might update it in a nice way. But something kept holding me back.
Once I placed the desk in the study, I looked underneath it to see if there was a company name or label. Something that would give me a clue as the age and value. Unfortunately, there wasn’t any kind of hallmark.
However, when I removed the drawers to check them, I noticed that they all have tongue and groove construction. So this gave me pause.
Was it older than I originally thought?
The Louis XV French style desk is often referred to as a Bureau Plat desk.
They are leather topped with full body Caryatid and ormolu mounts on the curved legs, a veneer body, and triple drawers.
The Bureau Plat desk first appeared in France at the beginning of the 17th century as just a flat table with drawers below the top.
By Louis XIV’s reign, a kneehole type was in use, with a tier of drawers on each side and a single drawer in the centre above a space for the knees.
Rococo styling brought us the Bureau plat desk during Louis XV’s reign.
Cabriole legs supported a table-like structure with slimline drawers. The plat was all about curvaceous crafting and was the must-have furniture piece of the aristocracy.
Do I think that I have a rare antique, worth tens of thousands of dollars? No, unfortunately!
I still think it’s a newer, 20th century desk. It just doesn’t feel that old to me, perhaps dating to the 50’s or 60’s.
However, after some research, I think it might be worth quite a bit more than I paid for it, which is enough of an incentive for me to not paint it.
I have decided that I will leave it as is for now. The stained wood of the desk adds a nice warmth to the cooler tones of the study.
The chair that I’m using is just a bit too small for the desk, so I’m going to swap it out with another french chair that I have. I just need to reupholster it. Another piece on the never ending project list!
I’m loving the “fancy” look that the Louis XV Bureau Plat desk brings to my study.
I feel very regal when I’m working in there, and Miss RubyLou says that she feels pretty queenly herself!
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