A painted plywood table, after that supposedly delivered to Catherine the Great, modern
- Plywood, paint
- 72.5cm. high, 96cm. diameter; 2ft. 4¼in., 3ft. 1¾in.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
B. Gip, The Passions and Lechery of Catherine the Great, London, 1971
Of the many legends surrounding Catherine II of Russia (1729-1796) that relating to a supposed secret erotic cabinet is perhaps the best known. According to some sources, this was placed in the Empress's private apartments at Gatchina Palace, while according to others, the room was in one of the palaces of Tsarskoye Selo, in the outskirts of St Petersburg.
Two photographs exist supposedly representing the table - of which the present one is a faithful copy - and a chair from this eccentric suite of furniture; the photographs were taken by Wehrmacht soldiers in 1941. Soon after, the palaces were bombed, most of their contents - including, one might infer, the aforementioned pieces - destroyed in the ensuing fire.