Rolltop Desk

Object Details

Title:

Rolltop Desk

Artist/Maker(s):

Attributed to David Roentgen (German, 1743 - 1807, master 1780)

gilt-bronze plaque attributed to Pierre Gouthière (French, 1732 - 1813/1814, master 1758)

mounts by François Rémond (French, 1747 - 1812, master 1774)

Culture:

German

Date:

about 1785

Medium:

Oak, fir, and Scots pine veneered with mahogany and maple burl; gilt-bronze mounts; steel fittings

Dimensions:

168.3 x 155.9 x 89.3 cm, 347.0017 kg (66 1/4 x 61 3/8 x 35 3/16 in., 765 lb.)

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Made in the Neoclassical style, this monumental rolltop desk is fitted with numerous complicated mechanical devices, the specialty of David Roentgen's workshop. When the writing surface is pulled out, a mechanism automatically withdraws the solid rolltop back into the carcass, displaying the drawers and pigeon holes inside the desk. Behind the large gilt bronze plaque in the middle of the top is a contraption of many parts that moves out and opens at the turn of a key. It contains a folding reading and writing stand with compartments that hold an inkwell and sand pot for use by a person standing at the closed desk.

Exhibitions
Extravagant Inventions: The Princely Furniture of the Roentgens (October 30, 2012 to January 27, 2013) (64)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York), October 30, 2012 to January 27, 2013
Bibliography

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 1st ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1986), p. 176.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 3rd ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1991), p. 194.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 4th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 227.

Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: Decorative Arts (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 120, no. 95.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 6th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), p. 227, ill.