Established 1964

BUREAU MAZARIN

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The bureau Mazarin is a seventeenth century desk form named after Cardinal Mazarin, regent of France from 1642 to 1661.

Jules Cardinal Mazarin was born July 14, 1602 at Pescina, Abruzzi in the Kingdom of Naples and died March 9, 1661 at Vincennes, France. As a member of the papal diplomatic service (1627 – 34), he negotiated an end to the War of the Mantuan Succession between France and Spain. He served as papal nuncio to the French court from 1634 – 36, where he admired cardinal de Richelieu. He worked for French interests in the papal court, then entered the service of France and became a naturalized French citizen (1639) and a cardinal (1641).

“Mazarin, Jules." Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2006.

After the deaths of Richelieu (1642) and Louis XIII (1643), Mazarin was appointed first minister of France by Anne of Austria, regent for Louis XIV, and he directed Louis's education. A highly influential adviser to the young king, he helped train a staff of able administrators. His foreign policy established France's supremacy among the European powers, effecting the Peace of Westphalia (1648) and the Treaty of the Pyrenees (1659). A patron of the arts, Mazarin founded an academy of painting and sculpture and compiled a large library.

The Bureau Mazarin is the earliest predecessor of the pedestal desk and typically consists of three or more drawers flanking a central recess and cupboard and raised on eight legs united by ‘X’ or ‘H’ form interlaced cross stretchers. Although named after Cardinal Mazarin this archetypal seventeenth century desk form is not known to have been produced in France during his life time. The form is traditionally said to have been invented by the expatriate Dutch ébéniste Pierre Gole (c.1620-84). The first record of Gole supplying the Court with such a bureau appears in the French royal accounts in 1669, eight years after the Cardinal’s death.

 

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