This elegant folding desk is a unique piece—only four others of similar kind are known to have been made. An antique item, it transforms from a compact foldable table into an entire functional unit, complete with a built-in chair, writing desk, drawers and leaves. Currently owned by the Musée du Louvre in Paris, this model is the most luxurious of the four, with a rich masculine aesthetic that was typical of the Napoleonic era.
Produced by the Socci family in the small town of Ponte a Ema, tucked into the hills of Southern Florence, this particular piece marks the first time that a mechanical design was implemented in a furniture item. These Florentine cabinetmakers dominated fine furniture production in Europe from 1728 to 1878, and unique desks such as this cemented the Socci name in the history of Italian furniture. The luxury piece was made for Elisa Napoléone Baciocchi, also known as “Mrs Napoléone” (daughter of Félix Baciocchi and Elisa Bonaparte); you can see other examples of the remarkable design at Clostermann Antiques.