A GERMAN ORMOLU-MOUNTED AND BRASS-INLAID ACAJOU MOUCHETE (PLUM PUDDING MAHOGANY) WRITING-TABLE
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A GERMAN ORMOLU-MOUNTED AND BRASS-INLAID ACAJOU MOUCHETE (PLUM PUDDING MAHOGANY) WRITING-TABLE

ATTRIBUTED TO DAVID ROENTGEN, NEUWIED, CIRCA 1785-90

Details
A GERMAN ORMOLU-MOUNTED AND BRASS-INLAID ACAJOU MOUCHETE (PLUM PUDDING MAHOGANY) WRITING-TABLE
ATTRIBUTED TO DAVID ROENTGEN, NEUWIED, CIRCA 1785-90
The oval top with a pierced three-quarter gallery above a frieze fitted with a drawer enclosing a leather-lined writing-slide and four mahogany lined drawers, flanked by a pair of sprung-released swivelling compartments, on fluted square tapering legs joined by a galleried platform and terminating in square caps and castors
30 ½ in. (77.5 cm.) high; 29 ¼ in. (74 cm.) wide; 19 ½ in. (49.5 cm.) deep
Provenance
Christie's, Paris, 16 December 2008, lot 183.
Literature
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE:
W. Koeppe, Extravagant Inventions, the Princely Furniture of the Roentgens, New Haven and London, 2012, cat. 54, pp. 180-81.
Special notice

These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.
Specified lots (sold and unsold) marked with a filled square not collected from Christie’s by 5.00 pm on the day of the sale will, at our option, be removed to Cadogan Tate. Christie’s will inform you if the lot has been sent offsite. Our removal and storage of the lot is subject to the terms and conditions of storage which can be found at Christies.com/storage. Please call Christie’s Client Service 24 hours in advance to book a collection time at Cadogan Tate Ltd. All collections will be by pre-booked appointment only. Tel: +44 (0)20 7839 9060 Email: cscollectionsuk@christies.com. If the lot remains at Christie’s it will be available for collection on any working day 9.00 am to 5.00 pm. Lots are not available for collection at weekends.

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Lot Essay

This elegant table à écrire, conceived in the neoclassical style popularised by Louis XVI and the court of Versailles, is a beautiful example of David Roentgen’s unrivalled craftsmanship.
The aesthetically refined lines, superb choice of timber, distinctive ormolu and brass mounts, together with the excellent craftsmanship of this table, are all recognisable characteristics of the younger Roentgen’s distinctive oeuvre, and appear on various documented Roentgen pieces. 

Born in Neuwied and son of the cabinet-maker Abraham Roentgen (1711-1793), David Roentgen (1743-1807) was one of the greatest ébénistes of his age. He joined his father's workshop in 1757 and officially took control in 1772. Under his leadership it developed into a truly pan-European enterprise and he expanded his business in an unprecedented campaign no other 18th century furniture-maker could ever match. One of his first great international patrons was Charles, Duke of Lorraine (1712-1780), Governor of the Austrian Netherlands, brother of the Emperor Francis I who was married to Maria Theresia and uncle of Queen Marie-Antoinette. In 1774 Roentgen visited Paris to get acquainted with the new neoclassical style, the latest development in the European capital of taste and fashion and by the late 1770s his furniture shows him to have adopted this new style entirely. In 1779, having sold several pieces of furniture both to King Louis XVI and to Marie-Antoinette, his efforts were rewarded with the courtesy title of ébéniste-mécanicien du Roi et de la Reine, a title that helped open doors to all the other European courts and Roentgen soon supplied furniture to many of the most discriminating aristocrats throughout Europe, including, King Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia, as well as the Electors of Hessen and Saxony, the Dukes of Württemberg and the Margraves of Baden.

In 1784 Roentgen travelled to Russia and was admitted at the court of Catherine II. This introduction prompted the production of some of Roentgen’s most spectacular furniture, much of which survives in the Russian state collections, and it is intriguing to note that the invoices for Roentgen’s delivery to St Petersburg in March 1786 alone list no less than eleven such oval tables in mahogany, plus another seven in “yellow wood” as well as one in “gray wood”.
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