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Writing Cabinet

Made by Georges Jacob, French, 1739 - 1814, master 1765, and François-Honoré-Georges Jacob, called Jacob-Desmalter, French, 1770 - 1841.

Made in Paris, France, Europe


Mahogany, oak, marble, gilded bronze mounts

46 1/4 x 60 x 25 inches (117.5 x 152.4 x 63.5 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Decorative Arts and Sculpture

* Gallery 299, European Art 1500-1850, second floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
The Henry P. McIlhenny Collection in memory of Frances P. McIlhenny, 1986

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Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections

    Georges Jacob, a prominent French cabinetmaker whose career spanned the rules of Louis VX, Louis XVI, and Napoleon I, was the founder of a dynasty of French cabinetmakers, foremost among whom was his son Jacob-Desmalter, with whom he worked in partnership between 1803 and 1813. This writing cabinet, fitted with shelves and a drop-front drawer that served as a desk, was made by their firm sometime after 1810. A massive cabinet with rich mahogany veneers, a thick marble top, and gilded bronze mounts, the commode is typical of the large mahogany case furniture with classically inspired ornament, such as the laurel wreaths and lyres seen here, that was fashionable during the Napoleonic Empire (1804-14). Napoleon, eager for his empire to be compared to those of Greece and Rome, adopted classical motifs as his symbols and encouraged their use in furniture. Julia H. M. Smith, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 149.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.