This walnut bureau from the late 18th century is Dutch, or possibly English with Dutch influence. It is decorated with walnut veneer and marquetry patterns in lighter wood. It is patterned with floral motifs and scrolls. The front of the bureau has a lid decorated with two stylized coats of arms held by two gryphon-like creatures. The lid folds down to form a flat surface for writing.
This bureau is part of a collection of furniture and artefacts from Ynysgain Uchaf near Cricieth. The collection was left to the Museum in 1959 by Anne Eaden, friend and companion of Dorothea Pughe-Jones, the last of the Jones family to live at Ynysgain. Although the family lived there since 1669, the house is a little older for there is a record of gold hidden in one of the walls in 1646 during the Civil War.
Marquetry is the art of cutting and applying pieces of veneer to create a decorative finish. This type of decoration originated in Italy in the fourteenth century but became very popular in the seventeenth century. Floral style marquetry is typically Dutch, and came into prominence in Britain around 1675 firstly using the same designs. As skilled craftsmen made these items they were expensive and not obtainable to lower classes of society. The types of wood used in the veneer would mean that each piece was priced according to the value of the veneer wood. Valuable marquetry would have been made in mahogany, rose or walnut wood. The less expensive objects would have been made from pine, oak and elm.
This desk is currently in store but other furniture from the Ynysgain collection are on display in a temporary exhibition at Storiel.