This intricately inlaid games table can be firmly attributed to David Roentgen. Born in Neuwied and son of the cabinet-maker Abraham Roentgen, David Roentgen (1743-1807) was one of the greatest bnistes of his time. He was particularly famed for his elaborate mechanical furniture. Roentgen traveled to Paris where he became bniste mcanicien du Roi et de la Reine in 1785.
This table, while it has been adapted in form, is virtually identical to an example in a private collection illustrated in J.M. Greber, Abraham und David Roentgen: Mbel Fr Europa, Starnberg, 1980, vol.1, pp. 143-147. Comparison of the two tables suggests that the present example formerly had a gateleg action (now suppressed) which enclosed a drawer for cards, and a triple-board top; the third leaf was fitted with a ratcheted reading and writing stand. The table was also equipped with a spring-activated tric-trac gaming board which is now lacking. The unusual configuration of air holes found on the underside of the table were originally associated with this mechanical function.
The ormolu mounts on this table are most probably by the bronzier Franois Rmond, who supplied Roentgen with his mounts after 1780. The table's simple neoclassical husk chains, paterae and triglyphs are found on a roll-top desk attributed to Roentgen in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, illustrated in H. Huth, Roentgen Furniture, New York, 1974, pl. 60.
The marquetry decoration further supports a Roentgen attribution, as panels found on the present table are virtually identical to other panels on identified Roentgen furniture. In addition to the use of long ribbons suspending floral bouquets and the use of a sycamore ground, typical features of Roentgen marquetry, the distinct motif of floral sprays and crossed gardening knives found on the sides of this table can be found on a table formerly in the collection of Freiherr Rudolf von Goldschmidt-Rothschild, Knigstein, illustrated in Greber op. cit, vol. II, p. 178, pl.349. The top panel, centering a neoclassical figure within a niche flanked by trellis, appears to be unique to this piece yet is undoubtedly in Roentgen's signature style.