The present secretaire fits into a group of Dutch marquetry furniture firmly attributed to the the Hague cabinet maker Matthijs Horrix (1735-1809). This important group of Dutch furniture which was richly decorated with floral marquetry and parquetry in the French manner, highly prised in the 18th century, became unpopular in the early 19th century due to anti-French sentiments after the occupation. As a result many of this French furniture was sold abroad, and the whole group was no longer recognised as Dutch, until the Rijksmuseum acquired a commode, now atributed to Horrix, from Stodel in 1957. In his dissertation Aspecten van de Nederlandse meubelkunst in de tweede helft van de achttiende eeuw Reinier Baarsen has brought to light a substantial oeuvre by Horrix, amongst which the present lot.
Mathijs Horrix was born in Lobberich near Krefeld, Germany, entered the cabinet makers guild of the Hague (St Josefsgilde) in 1764. In the Hague the French court style was closely followed, as a result of the Stadholder's court and the influence of foreign embassies. The fashion for French was a strong influence on the work of Horrix who called his shop In de commode van Parijs tot Den Haag. Horrix was also commissioned to re-furbish the Royal residences following the marriage of Stadholder Prince William V to Princess Wilhelmina of Prussia in 1767, three commodes now attributed to Horrix remain in the Royal collection at Huis ten Bosch. One of these is decorated with floral marquetry framed in strapwork and parquetry panels, this decorative scheme, especially the floral trellis, is a recurring motif in Horrix's oeuvre. Another commode decorated in this fashion from the collection of the Earls of Swinton was sold Christie's King Street 12 December 1996, lot 222. This marquetry scheme shows the influence of the Parisian ébeniste du roi Jean-Francois Oeben, who developed a new type of naturalistic floral marquetry in the 1750's which found favour throughout Europe.
A variation to this scheme can be seen on the present secretaire where the floral marquetry panel, artfully set in an openworked wicker basket is reserved on a green-stained fan-shaped panel directly placed onto the floral trellis. The present lot is somewhat of a rarity within the known oeuvre of Horrix of the 1760's and 70's which consists mainly of commodes. On some of these commodes the unusual rope-twist banding with bow ties to the corners can also be seen, one such exemple is in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.