This cleverly devised metamorphic desk conceals a desk chair in its kneehole. Its strong architectural outline and restrained neoclassical details relates it to late examples of the work of the celebrated and influential German cabinet-maker David Roentgen. Its basic form can be seen in the design by F.G. Hoffmann dated 1795 for the "Neues Verzeichnis und Muster-Charte des Meubles-Magazin" in Lepzig (see G. Haase, Dresdener Mbel des 18 Jahrhunderts, Leipzig, 1983, p. 214). That desk also included a pull-out deskchair, as well as a superstructure with a roll-top, that could have also formed part of the desk offered here
Other European cabinet-makers also experimented with this unusual and complicated model. The Italian maker Giovanni Socci executed several versions in rounded form between 1807 and 1820. One of these desks, originally made for Marie-Louise de Bourbon, the regent Queen of Etruria is now at Fontainebleau (see S. Chiarugi, Botteghe di Mobilieri in Toscana, Florence, 1994, vol. I, pp. 102-103, figs. 85-88).