Secretary, Manufacture de Sèvres, c. 1804
Severe, rectilinear writing furniture, such as this desk, is typical of the French Empire style. The bronze deco-ration is derived from antiquity. The front legs are shaped like sphinxes: half woman, half eagle. This secretary was bought by the 7th Earl of Elgin in 1804. He is known for having acquired the Parthenon sculptures, which he sold on to the British Museum.