The highly sophisticated pictorial marquetry roundel to the centre of the top makes it possible to attribute this elegant little table to the German cabinet-maker and celebrated marqueteur Michael Rummer.
Rummer (1747-1821), from Handschuhsheim near Heidelberg, is credited with producing some of the finest marquetry panels in the à la mosaïque technique developed by the Roentgen workshop in the late 1760's. This new type of marquetry was first mentioned in an advertisement for the Hamburg Lottery of 1769, describing the first prize as 'Ein bureau... mit Chinuesischen Figuren, a la Mosaique eingelegt'. In contrast to traditional marquetry techniques based on scorching and engraving for effects of shade and detail, the new technique created 'pictures in wood', with painterly marquetry panels assembled from minute pieces of wood cut with incredible precision.
Heidelberg parish council Mieg's 'Beytrag zur vaterländischen Geschichte der Einlegekunst in Holz' of 1780 already documents Rummer's career during his life time. Mieg writes how Rummer, having previously spent a year in London and a year in Poland working for Prince Polinsky, came to fame during his second stay with Roentgen in Neuwied when working on important commissions for Marie-Antoinette and Prince Karl Alexander von Lothringen (1778/79). In both cases he was responsible for the complex figural marquetry, including theatrical, allegorical and historical scenes, which became a recurring decorative motif during the 1770's and early 1780's. The figurative scenes executed for Prince Karl Alexander von Lothringen in 1779, which were just like the scene of the resting huntsman on this table based on paintings and drawings of Januarius Zick (1732-1797), are by far the most sophisticated examples (now in the Österreichisches Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Vienna).
A practically identical marquetry panel of the resting huntsman, signed and dated by Rummer '1780/MR', is exhibited at the Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte in Schloss Oldenburg and a third version hung in the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg, until it was stolen in 1925.
A closely related table attributed to Rummer, and undoubtedly executed in the same workshop, though with fewer marquetry panels but instead fitted with a complicated pop-up section and slightly further mounted, was sold at Christie's London, 'Boulle to Jansen', 11 June 2003, lot 39 (£77,675). While a further table, of rectangular outline, most probably also from the same workshop and displaying closely related legs headed by identical gilt-metal flowerhead rosettes, though erroneously attributed to Johann-Gottleib Fiedler, was offered at Sotheby's London, 14 June 2000, lot 67.