523. An important Louis XVI center table in the manner of David Roentgen
Made in Russia or for the Russian market, ca 1790 in the ”Goût grec” fashion. Mahogany venéer ”en moucheté”. Richly decorated with gilded bronzes and brass. The rectangular stepped top with pierced gallery and urn finials with a three quarter-balustraded top with a gilded bronze relief depicting an antique couple. The center of the table with a wedgwood plaque depicting the ”Choice of Hercules” surrounded by gilt beaded friezes. On four tapering legs decorated with ”milleraies” panels and headed by roundels in gilded bronze and brass fluting. Fragment of inventory label on inside of frame. Length 149, Width 89, Height 96 cm.

SEK 600.000 – 800.000      57.000 – 76.000 

Traditionally considered to be formerly part of the Imperial collections of the Winter Palace in S:t Petersburg.
Thence in a French Private Collection.
Thence in a German Private Collection.
Koller Auktionen, Furniture & Decoration (A151), lot 1208.
A Swedish Private Collection, acquired at the sale above.

Antoine Chenevière, Russian furniture: the golden age, 1780‑1840, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1988, compare with a similar style table with a wedgwood plaque in the collections of the Pavlovsk Palace p. 135 fig. 125. Also compare with the quality of a monumental mahogany table by Christian Meyer in the collection of the State Hermitage Museum inventory no. 72 p. 87 fig. 67. Also compare with the quality of a large bureau “trois corps” attributed to Christian Meyer in a private Italian collection p. 125 fig. 111.
Vgl. Greber, Abraham und David Roentgen, Möbel für Europa, Band 2, Starnberg 1980, cat. no. 689 compare, with the composition of the legs on a writing desk by Roentgen.
Vgl. Greber, Abraham und David Roentgen, Möbel für Europa, Band 2, Starnberg 1980, cat. no. 710 compare, with a similar lady’s writing desk by Roentgen in the collections of the Neues Palais, Potsdam.


As one of the most successful cabinet-makers of the 18th century, David Roentgen (1743-1807) is a name certain to attract attention from collectors of historical furniture. Like many of his contemporaries David Roentgen inherited his trade from his father Abraham Roentgen, who himself was regarded as one of the foremost cabinet makers of the Louis XV period.

David Roentgen officially took control of the Roentgen workshop in Neuwied when his father died in 1772 but he had in fact been in charge far longer. His mastermind for   mechanics combined with artistic refinement was a successful combination for furniture making which attracted the European elite of the late 18th century. Roentgens royal commissions were plentiful and he is represented in many of the collections of the courts and foremost aristocratic palaces around Europe.

The Russian demand for Roentgen’s furniture developed after he visited St. Petersburg in 1783 and sold over 300 pieces of furniture to the Empress Catherine II of Russia. The elegance of Roentgen’s Russian furniture is sublime and came to be the starting point of the Russian boom in the late 18th century of furniture veneered with mahogany and richly decorated with brass and ormolu. Amongst several, one of the most important followers of Roentgen was Christian Meyer who continued to make furniture in Roentgen’s manner.

The outstanding quality of the center table in this sale points towards, if not David Roentgen himself, a cabinet-maker who had been trained by the master and therefore the idea of Christian Meyer as the maker of the table seems likely. When compared with known Roentgen furniture this auction’s table stands out as almost equal in respect to the high   quality mahogany, the gilt bronzes and the typical composition including the balustrade and the legs with the gilt “milleraies”. The high quality of the execution can be compared with a large bureau “trois corps” in a private Italian collection attributed to Christian Meyer’s workshop.

The Wedgwood plaque in this table depicts the “Choice of Hercules” with the hero ignoring a female figure and choosing the high path indicated to the temple of virtue. The Russian taste for Wedgwood wares stems from the promotion of Wedgwood implemented by the English ambassador to Russia, Lord Cathcart. Further examples of this can be seen in furniture in the collections of the Pavlovsk Palace.

The center table can be compared with a similar table with a Wedgwood plaque in the collections of the Pavlovsk Palace. It shares some design features as the balustrade and the overall neo-classical appearance with the center table in this auction but lacks the “Roentgenesque” quality in the manner it is executed in.

This auction’s center table is likely to have been part of a most lavish interior. As it has no drawers or no obvious practical purpose it appears to have been made for allocating possibly a mechanical spectacle or an exceptional table clock in an imperial interior.

Back to catalogue »