Rolltop Desk

Object Details


Rolltop Desk


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)




Neuwied, Germany (Place created)


about 1785


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


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.

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