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This finely crafted piece of furniture has a secret. Swing out a leg, adjust an arm, and voilà! Leaves unfold to reveal multiple configurations: a felt surface for card games, a game board for chess or checkers, a desk with a leather writing surface and book rest. Tug at a hidden latch, and a spring-driven backgammon board pops up.
The brainchild of German cabinetmaker David Roentgen (1743–1807), this sophisticated gaming table once graced the intimate interior of an aristocratic European home. The exquisite piece was not only convenient for entertaining guests, but it was also portable—its legs unscrew so it can easily be packed and moved.
This 3-D animation of the table demonstrates its different configurations and illuminates its concealed features, including drawers for tucking away personal items and compartments for storing game pieces.
See Collections to learn more about this table.
This table is featured in the exhibition Extravagant Inventions: The Princely Furniture of the Roentgens (on view October 30, 2012–January 27, 2013).
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Plate (one of a pair)
Armorial Plate (tondino): The story of King Midas
Armorial Plate: Silenus on an ass, supported by Bacchic revelers
Large Dish (tagliere): Pope Leo X presenting a baton to Federigo II Gonzaga, marquis of Mantua, on his appointment as captain general of the Church in 1521.
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This artwork is currently on display in Gallery 503
Inscription: On white scroll, in blue: "RVGIERI"Marking: Affixed to underside: red medallion with letter "F" in center (collector's mark)
Joseph Fau (until 1884; sale, Hotel Drouot, Paris, March 1–2, 1884, nos. 15 -16 (65.6.7 and .8, described); Walter von Pannwitz (by 1925) ; Possibly John Edward Taylor ; [ van Pannwitz collection though Stiebel Ltd. ; sold to MMA ]
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