Abraham Roentgen (German, 1711–1793)
Oak, pine, walnut, rosewood, and mahogany, veneered with rosewood, tulipwood (stained), pearwood (stained); ivory, mother–of–pearl; gilt bronze, brass, and iron; 31 1/2 x 42 1/2 x 20 1/2 in. (80 x 108 x 52 cm)
Kunstgewerbemuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (W–1979,93) (L.2013.15.2)
Game and writing tables were popular furniture types, and the present example is one of the most splendid ever produced by Abraham Roentgen’s workshop. Supporting three tops, the serpentine curved body rests on four cabriole legs decorated with carving. The top has a foliate and figural border in engraved ivory that lends a sense of Rococo playfulness. The geometric marquetry consists of squares framed by strips of rosewood, with lighter-colored engraved rosettes at the corners, and each is filled with one of three different parquet patterns in tulipwood and walnut. The rendering of the bold carving gives it the appearance of having been applied rather than sculpted out of the wood; other examples incorporated gilt bronze. Such tables were introduced about 1720 in England and owe their name to Harlequin, the master of disguise, in the commedia dell’arte.