The magnificent and inventive marquetry on this secretaire is typical of the sumptuous pictorial work executed by David Roentgen in collaboration with the artist Januarius Zick (d.1797) during the 1770s. Abraham Roentgen had established the reputation of his workshop as a center of excellence for the production of the finest marquetry at least two decades earlier, but it was his son David who would develop the distinctive styles of inlay employed to the decorate this secretaire. The ingenious coloring and shadowing, providing a deep sense of three dimensionality, of the superb and highly individual swagged floral design, are hallmarks of the ‘à la mosaïque’ technique of ‘painting in wood’, which Roentgen perfected and whereby the entire picture was composed, like a jigsaw puzzle, of tiny pieces of wood and no engraving was needed. This technique is typical of Roentgen’s fourth phase of activity (for a detailed discussion on Roentgen’s six clearly distinguishable periods, see D. Fabian, Abraham und David Roentgen, Bad Neustadt, 1992, pp. 7-19). This suspended flower motif was in a way a modification of Roentgen’s floral inlay work from the 1760s when he employed clusters of rocailles and flowers to create asymmetrical compositions to decorate his pieces. A secretaire with comparable floral marquetry is in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, see H. Huth, Roentgen Furniture, London, 1978, fig. 80, while another with almost identical inlay to the fall front is illustrated J. M. Greber, Abraham und David Roentgen: Möbel für Europa, Vol. II, Starnberg, 1980, p. 279, fig. 551. The distinct inlay where floral compositions are suspended by sashes and ribbons is a returning motif in Roentgen’s oeuvre from this period and can be found on a number of furnishings of various types including a secretaire and a signed and dated desk, both once in the Royal Palace in Berlin and now destroyed, see ibid., figs. 78 and 44, respectively; a desk in the Residenzmuseum in Munich, see ibid., fig. 42; a secretaire now in a German private collection, see W. Koeppe, ed., Extravagant Inventions: The Princely Furniture of the Roentgens, New York, 2012, p. 27, fig. 24; two tables, see ibid., pp. 98 and 102; and a corner cabinet, see Fabian, op. cit., p. 40, fig. 80.