A PAIR OF GERMAN ORMOLU AND BRASS-MOUNTED MAHOGANY MECHANICAL GAMES TABLE
A PAIR OF GERMAN ORMOLU AND BRASS-MOUNTED MAHOGANY MECHANICAL GAMES TABLE
A PAIR OF GERMAN ORMOLU AND BRASS-MOUNTED MAHOGANY MECHANICAL GAMES TABLE
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A PAIR OF GERMAN ORMOLU AND BRASS-MOUNTED MAHOGANY MECHANICAL GAMES TABLE
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Specified lots are being stored at Crozier Park Ro… Read more
A PAIR OF GERMAN ORMOLU AND BRASS-MOUNTED MAHOGANY MECHANICAL GAMES TABLE

BY DAVID ROENTGEN, NEUWIED, CIRCA 1780

Details
A PAIR OF GERMAN ORMOLU AND BRASS-MOUNTED MAHOGANY MECHANICAL GAMES TABLE
BY DAVID ROENTGEN, NEUWIED, CIRCA 1780
Each with a rectangular triple-flap top enclosing a green baize-lined playing surface, a chess-board inlaid in bois citronnier and stained maple, and a reading stand, one with a black leather-lined writing surface above a rising mechanism with a tric-trac board, the other with a green-baize lined surface above a rising mechanism with a hinged compartment, flanked by two compartments with tambour covers, above a panelled frieze with fluted angles, the gateleg action with a hidden drawer, on square tapering removable legs with mille-raie panels
31 ¾ in. (81 cm.) high; 38 in. (96.5 cm.) wide; 19 ½ in. (49.5 cm.) deep, closed; 38 ½ in. (98 cm.) deep, open
Special notice

Specified lots are being stored at Crozier Park Royal (details below) or will be removed from Christie’s, 8 King Street, London, SW1Y 6QT by 5.00pm on the day of the sale. Christie’s will inform you if the lot has been sent offsite. If the lot has been transferred to Crozier Park Royal, it will be available for collection from 12.00pm on the second business day following the sale. Please call Christie’s Client Service 24 hours in advance to book a collection time at Crozier Park Royal. All collections from Crozier Park Royal will be by pre-booked appointment only. Tel: +44 (0)20 7839 9060 Email: cscollectionsuk@christies.com. If the lot remains at Christie’s, 8 King Street, it will be available for collection on any working day (not weekends) from 9.00am to 5.00pm

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Lot Essay

This pair of neoclassical games tables are a fine example of David Roentgen's mature production of the 1780s. Their complex mechanism enables each restrained table to be transformed into into four different positions with their individual uses. Apparently this multi-functional type of furniture enjoyed continuous popularity, reflecting the 18th-Century love for complicated mechanisms and unexpected surprises. It was this mechanical aspect to Roentgen's furniture that was particularly prized by his contemporaries, being singled out for praise by even the greatest German writer of the time, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. For his most elaborate pieces Roentgen collaborated with the clockmaker from Neuwied, Peter Kinzing, and after he had sold an automaton produced together with Kinzing to Queen Marie-Antoinette in 1785 he was appointed ébéniste mécanicien du Roi et de la Reine, a rare distinction which had previously been conferred, in 1760, upon the famous Jean-François Oeben (1721-1763), who like Roentgen was of German origin.
David Roentgen produced the first mechanical tables of this neoclassical model in 1771, for his progressive and exacting patron, Prince Leopold III Friedrich Franz von Anhalt-Dessau. The Prince placed them at his revolutionary country house at Wörlitz, where they remain (D. Fabian, Abraham und David Roentgen, Das noch aufgefundene Gesamtwerk ihrer Möbel- und Uhrenkunst in Verbindung mit der Uhrmacherfamilie Kinzing in Neuwied, Bad Neustadt/Saale, 1996, Nos. 47a-b). The Wörlitz tables are still decorated with marquetry, as are the richly mounted pair made for Roentgen's principal client of the mid-1770's, Prince Charles of Lorraine, Governor of the Austrian Netherlands, which are preserved at the Museum für Angewandte Kunst in Vienna (Fabian, Nos. 67 and 68). In the 1780's, when Roentgen favoured plain mahogany veneers instead of colourful marquetry, this model continued to be popular with princely patrons, as is demonstrated by a very closely related example now at Pavlovsk which must have formed part of Roentgen's extensive deliveries to the Russian court from 1783 onwards (Fabian, No. 103).
A single games table of this model, slightly differently mounted, sold Christie's, London, 7 July, 2005, lot 535 (£46,500).

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