Don’t know a Bergère from a Fauteuil? Wouldn’t know Ormolu from your neighbor Emmy Lou? Our Word of the Week will help you sound like a pro!
[byoo r-oh] / (plăt) /
The bureau (French for office) plat (French for flat) first made its introduction into French society at the beginning of the 17th century as a flat table, or desk, with a series of drawers directly below the surface – hence, the French called it a bureau plat. Considered a modern day writing table, a bureau plat was the perfect place for the aristocracy to ink their correspondence. Some versions of the bureau plat have a division in one of its drawers for the inkwell, the blotter and the sand or powder tray. During Louis XV’s reign, famous “ébénistes” or cabinetmakers such as Riesener and Josef created elaborate bureau plats with exaggerated cabriole legs, leafage and sea scrolls. By Louis XVI’s reign, a kneehole type was used and had a tier of drawers of each side and a single drawer in the center.
It is also worth mentioning the bureau à gradin, which is a writing table that has additional drawers above the surface.