Abraham Roentgen's Writing Desk

Discover the secret compartments of this writing table and see how it can be transformed into a private altar.

Perhaps the most exquisite and technically refined piece from German cabinetmaker Abraham Roentgen (1711–1793), this desk was made for his premier patron, the Catholic official Johann Philipp von Walderdorff. Its interior holds a multitude of drawers, panels, and compartments, in addition to sophisticated mechanical fittings that safeguard the elector’s privacy.

This writing table from the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, is featured in the exhibition Extravagant Inventions: The Princely Furniture of the Roentgens (on view October 30, 2012–January 27, 2013). Learn more about the table: http://www.rijksmuseum.nl/collectie/BK-16676/bureau-op-s-vormige-poten-versierd-met-marqueterie.

Footage courtesy of VideoART GmbH and Kunstgewerbemuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.

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