(b 1729; d Paris, 3 Sept 1807). French cabinetmaker. He trained in the workshop of Jean-fraçois Oeben and on 19 September 1764 became a maître-ébéniste. He was one of the leading Parisian cabinetmakers during the last years of Louis XV (reg 1715-74) and during the reign of Louis XVI (reg 1774-92). He was one of the most innovative craftsmen of his period, in the boldness of his constructions as well as in his concern for perfection. His highly architectural creations combined strength, restraint and vitality of line. Using few bronze mounts, he gave his furniture its form through mouldings, the arrangement of veneers and bold marquetry. He refurnished the Palais-Bourbon in Paris for Louis-François de Bourbon, Prince de Conti, even creating an astonishing new floor. Several of his creations for the Palais-Bourbon are extant, including a pair of small commodes (c. 1773; Versailles, Grand Trianon). His most notable extant works include roll-top desks (e.g. of 1767; San Marino, CA, Huntington A.G.) decorated with porcelain plaques from Sèvres and the desk (London, Wallace) and cartonnier (New York, Met.) decorated with porcelain plaques produced for J. B. Vandenyver. The most important illustration of Leleu's talent, however, is the trapezoid commode (ex-Wildenstein's, New York), decorated with a bronze mask and lyre of Apollo, which the collector George Watson Taylor acquired at the beginning of the 19th century.
From The Grove Encyclopedia of Decorative Arts in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: Decorative Arts, Furniture, and Industrial Design.