Detail of writing table made for Marie-Antoinette by Jean-Henri Riesener, 1780-85

THE COLLECTIONExplore the collection


Major collection of French furniture spanning the 18th century, by leading makers, including important royal pieces, mainly by Riesener and furniture with Sèvres porcelain plaques. Other 18th-century pieces from Turin and Augsburg. 19th-century seat and servants’ furniture.

Among the wealth of French 18th-century furniture at Waddesdon, the star pieces are those made for Louis XVI, Marie-Antoinette and the French royal family by Riesener, as well as Louis XVI’s desk from his study at Versailles by Benneman. Cabinets and desks in marquetry and lacquer are by other important 18th-century French cabinetmakers (Cressent, BVRB, Dubois and Lacroix). Examples by René Dubois and Grandjean are in lacquered vernis Martin. Furniture decorated with Sèvres porcelain plaques by Carlin and Lacroix forms a significant group.

Superlative marquetry and gilt bronze cover the massive desk made for Caron de Beaumarchais by an unknown maker. The collection also has pieces by the Italian maker Piffetti and a remarkable table in turtle shell, mother of pearl and semi-precious stones probably made in Augsburg. 18th-century French seat furniture with tapestry covers sits alongside the deep-buttoned, comfortable armchairs commonly found in late-19th-century houses.