Secrétaire

Object Details

Title:

Secrétaire

Artist/Maker(s):

By Johannes Andreas Beo (German, active late 1700s, master about 1799)

with clock movement by Christian Möllinger (German, Prussian, 1754 - 1826)

Culture:

German

Place(s):

Berlin, Germany (Place created)

Date:

about 1798 - 1799

Medium:

Oak, spruce, and Scots pine veneered with mahogany, maple, Ceylon satinwood, rosewood, ebony, and holly; white marble; bronze; gilt-bronze mounts; enameled metal; glass

Dimensions:

243.8 x 111.8 x 60.9 cm (96 x 44 x 24 in.)

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This secrétaire is designed in a rigidly architectonic style composed of classical elements such as columns, pilasters, and a cupola. The panel in the midsection lowers to reveal drawers and pigeonholes designed as small rooms, with parquetry walls and floors in many different naturally colored woods. Concealed above the fall front is a reading stand; below are drawers that can be rotated outwards.

The interior of the secrétaire where the wood has been protected from daylight is pale yellow. This means that the cabinet has darkened considerably over time; with its pale wood veneer, white marble plaques, and gilding, it would have seemed much less somber. The secrétaire once had a large musical movement inside its base, which played a tune when the clock struck the hour.

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    Audio: Secretaire