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Mechanical Writing Table

Date: 1755-1765
27 9/16 x 36 3/4 x 17 5/8 in. (70 x 93.3 x 44.8 cm.)
Medium: oak and walnut carcase veneered with marquetry of kingwood, tulipwood, purplewood, bois satiné, green-stained maple, ebony and holly stringing, maple counter-veneer; panel of Japanese takamaki-e lacquer; gilt-bronze mounts; iron hardware
Credit Line: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
Inscription: Duveen label: 28065. Paper label in proper left side compartment: A Louis XV Marqueterie and / ormolu mounted Table in rose / wood and mahogany, with sliding / top, centre writing slope with / black and gilt lacquer panel, / two side drawers, inlaid flowers / foliage, and musical instru- / ments. From the Collection of / The Admiral of the Fleet, / Lord W. Talbot Kerr, C.C.B., / Brocket Hall, England
Object Number: 27.185
Label Text:This writing table opens by means of an elaborate mechanism that simultaneously propels the top surface backward and a large drawer forward. A button, disguised to resemble a portion of one of the gilt-bronze mounts, releases the center drawer, allowing it to be pushed forward by two steel springs. Mechanical tables catered to a sophisticated clientele fascinated by curiosities and the latest gadgetry. The form of this desk is similar to that of a group of bureau-toilettes (writing/dressing tables) Oeben made for Madame de Pompadour, mistress of Louis XV.
In Collection(s)