Art/ Libraries and Research Centers/ Thomas J. Watson Library Digital Collections/ Manuscript Collections/ David Roentgen Papers, 1773-1820

David Roentgen Papers, 1773-1820

An envelope addressed by hand to Monsieur Le Comte d'Ostermann and dated 1785

David Roentgen (1743-1807) was cabinetmaker to Queen Marie-Antoinette of France, Empress Catherine II of Russia, and King Frederick William II of Prussia.

The Roentgen family workshop was located at Neuwied, near Cologne. David Roentgen was admitted as maître ébéniste to the trade corporation of Paris cabinetmakers in 1780. Empress Catherine II of Russia bought large quantities of his furniture after Roentgen's first visit to St. Petersburg. King Frederick William II of Prussia was also his client, and Roentgen eventually was appointed court furnisher to the king of Prussia. Roentgen's early work was in the rococo style, but this was abandoned between 1775 and 1780 for classical forms.

The collection includes family correspondence, chiefly letters from Roentgen to his son Philipp Jacob and to his brother Johannes, as well as business documents, including letters addressed to Roentgen, chiefly from Frederick William II of Prussia or his agents, a letter patent from Frederick William II of Prussia, and a receipt for payment of furniture made for Catherine II of Russia. There are additional Roentgen family papers, including: a letter from David's wife Dorothea to her son Philipp Jacob; letters from various correspondents addressed to their son, A. Roentgen; the will of Dorothea Roentgen, dated Sept. 13, 1819; a genealogical notebook with entries by Dorothea Roentgen (and others?) between 1773 and 1823.
The following items also form part of the collection: a group of six unidentified silhouettes (by David Roentgen) wrapped in a folded sheet of paper labeled "Frau Rötchen"; a photographic reproduction of a silhouette composition by J.F. Anthing, labeled on the recto "David Röntgen," the original of which is identified as being owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art Print Dept.; a photographic reproduction of a portrait identified as "David Röntgen"; an engraved portrait of Ephraim Stare; two unidentified photos of caskets presumably made by the Roentgen workshop.

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Above: Letter of Recommendation for David Roentgen from Romanoff to Ostermann, 1785.