Mechanical table (Table mécanique)

Maker: Jean Henri Riesener (French, Gladebeck, near Hessen 1734–1806 Paris)

Maker: mechanism by Jean-Gotfritt Mercklein (1733–1808)

Date: 1778

Culture: French, Paris

Medium: Oak veneered with marquetry of bois satiné, holly, amaranth, barberry, stained sycamore, and green-lacquered wood; gilt-bronze mounts; steel, iron and brass fittings; mirror glass; velvet (not original)

Dimensions: H. 31 x W. 44-1/2 x D. 27 1/4 in. (78.7 x 113.0 x 69.2 cm)

Classification: Woodwork-Furniture

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1933

Accession Number: 33.12


The inventory number painted underneath the top allows this table to be identified as the one delivered by Riesener for use of Queen Marie Antoinette to the Château of Versailles in 1778. It was one of many pieces of exquisite furniture ordered by the queen from Riesener and was commissioned specifically for use during the confinement and lying-in at the birth of her first child. The table has intricate latticework marquetry in simulated relief, enclosing sunflowers. At each end, a rectangular gilt-bronze plaque decorated with interlaced rose and laurel branches hides the mechanism that makes it possible to raise or lower the table's top by means of a crank.