Maker: David Roentgen (German, Herrnhaag 1743–1807 Wiesbaden, master 1780)
Date: ca. 1780–95
Culture: German, Neuwied am Rhein
Medium: Oak, mahogany, walnut, pine, and cherry, veneered with mahogany; gilt bronze, brass, iron, steel; partially tooled and gilded leather
Dimensions: Overall: 31 7/8 × 44 1/8 × 27 1/2 in. (81 × 112 × 69.9 cm)
Credit Line: Lent by Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Gift of Anonymous Donor
Accession Number: L.2009.19
More than forty versions of this type of table are known, differing only in the degree of their embellishment, the materials used, and the shape of the legs. This example of impeccable quality—an ultimate icon of David Roentgen’s Neoclassical style—represents the final stage in the evolution of this design. The table serves as a console (when closed), a writing desk with moveable drawers, and a surface upon which to write, read, or draw while standing. A horizontal molding, on which drawing materials and documents may be propped, emerges automatically when the double-hinged top is raised. The interior is fitted with a leather-covered writing slide above a nest of moveable drawers. An illustration of the table design in a 1795 edition of a German fashion and luxury journal describes the table in enthusiastic detail, asserting that it was ideal for the “businessman who must write to many people, frequently, and at length."