(b. 1743, Herrnhaag, d. 1807, Wiesbaden)

Rolltop desk

Oak, cherry, pine, mahogany, and other woods; mother-of-pearl; partially gilded and tooled leather; gilt bronze, iron, steel, brass, 136 x 111 x 67 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

This splendid rolltop desk is distinguished by having six legs instead of the usual four. The added pair and the lavish mounts changed the frontal view into a more façade-like structure. This design is a preeminent example of Roentgen's technical skill and artistic creativity.

When the key is turned to the right, the compartment to the right of the kneehole slides forward. A button underneath can be pressed to release its front half. This swings aside to reveal two drawer panels, each with four Birmingham Chippendale-style pulls. Not every pull is functional, however, for the compartment contains only two deep drawers, not four shallow ones. Pressing in and turning the key to the left opens the compartment to the left of the kneehole; pressing it in halfway and turning it to the left disengages the writing surface, which can then be pulled forward by means of the drop-loop handles; simultaneously, the curved top opens, revealing the interior.

The colourful chinoiserie marquetry on the desk's front and sides is set into large panels of maple wood; they are based on drawings by Januarius Zick.

The case is after a design by Thomas Chippendale.