Maker: Workshop of David Roentgen (German, Herrnhaag 1743–1807 Wiesbaden, master 1780)
Maker: Movement attributed to Elie Prudhomme (German, born Switzerland, first mentioned 1776)
Date: ca. 1780–90
Culture: German, Neuwied am Rhein
Medium: Oak, pine, and mahogany, veneered with mahogany; brass, gilt bronze and enamel
Dimensions: Overall: 18 1/4 × 12 1/2 × 8 1/4 in. (46.4 × 31.8 × 21 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of The Ruth Stanton Family Foundation, in honor of Wolfram Koeppe, 2002
Accession Number: 2002.237
From 1768 until about 1792, the Roentgen workshop was among Europe's most successful cabinetmaking enterprises, employing more than one hundred specialized workers. Having secured nearly all of the western European courts as steady clients, Roentgen traveled to Saint Petersburg in 1783. Baron Friedrich Melchior von Grimm (1723–1807), who lived in Paris and was recognized as an arbiter of taste and an insider of Parisian gossip, had highly recommended him to Catherine the Great. The empress was impressed by Roentgen's ingenious creations and instantly became his most important client. Catherine and the Russian nobility bought hundreds of pieces of furniture from the German cabinetmaker.
This clock reflects the Roentgen style, distinguished by finely grained mahogany with brass inlay and gilded mounts, which would influence Russian furniture making for several decades. The dial is signed Jean Thomas/ Petersbourg. Thomas was a Swiss clockmaker who lived in Saint Petersburg in the early nineteenth century, repairing and trading clocks.