Hans Huth, Roentgen Furniture, London, 1974, p. 20
Michael Stürmer, 'Bois des Indes' and the Economics of Luxury Furniture in the Time of David Roentgen, Burlington Magazine, no. 909, vol. CXX, December 1978, pp. 799-805.
DAVID ROENTGEN (1743-1807)
Born in Neuwied as the son of the cabinet-maker Abraham Roentgen (1711-1793), David Roentgen (1743-1807) was one of the greatest ébénistes of his age. David joined his father's workshop in 1757 and officially took control in 1772. The workshop became highly successful under his leadership as he combined a talent for woodwork, mechanical technology and design with a sound instict for business and marketing.
Roentgen specialized in mechanical furniture as was noted by Goethe who, following a visit to the Roentgen workshop in the company of the preacher Lavater in 1774-5 (Wilhelm Meister's Wanderjaher, 3rd Book, ch. 6, 'Die Neue Melusine') wrote, "Wer einen künstlichen Schreibtisch von Röntgen gesehen hat, wo mit einem Zug viele Federn und Ressorts in Bewegung kommen, Pult und Schreibzeug, Brief- und Geldfächer sich auf einmal oder kurz nacheinander entwickeln, der wird sich eine Vorstellung machen können, wie sich jener Palast entfaltete, in wlechen mich meine süɮe Begleiterin nunmehr hineinzog."
THE MARQUE AU FEU
The marque au feu ‘SW’ surmounted by a deer rack has not yet been fully ascertained. However, the distinctive deer antler motif above the initials ‘SW’ might suggest a Dukes of Württenberg provenance. Three black stag’s antlers of four branches on a field of gold are part of the Coat of Arms of the Dukes and later Kings of Württemberg. There is no other princely family whose Coat of Arms feature the deer antler motif as prominently as that of the Württemberg family. The letters ‘SW’ could possibly stand for the initials of one of David Roentgen’s best female clients: Duchess Sophia Dorothea of Württemberg (1736-1798). She and her husband Frederick II Eugene, Duke of Württenberg (1732-1797) were the parents of Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg (1759-1828), later called Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna of Russia, wife of the future Czar Paul I, who after her arrival in St. Petersburg would become an equally enthusiastic client of Roentgen. As mentioned above, it is known that an almost identical table to the one offered here is in Pavlovsk and formerly belonged to Maria Feodorovna.
The German word for castle being ‘Schloss’, would alternatively make it seem plausible that the initials refer to one of the many castles once owned by the Württemberg family. Schloss Waldenbuch for example was used by the Dukes and later Kings of Württemberg until 1812.
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