In 2012 the Metropolitan Museum in New York was going to have an exhibition of the furniture of Abraham and David Roentgen, 18th century cabinetmakers who made remarkable mechanical pieces. They were also marquetry masters.
I knew the exhibit was coming and had long admired the Roentgen marquetry. I was less familiar with the mechanical aspects, but I had seen some still photos of how they unfolded. I thought I might make a piece that used some of the concepts that were in their work. I also added a trompe l’oeil aspect to the marquetry.
The piece was sort of conceived from the inside out. Start with the compartment and then build mechanisms to accommodate. There are over a dozen hidden drawers and compartments. Sometimes you have to get one thing open to move on to the next layer.
When the Met show opened I was invited for a special preview (I know one of the staff conservators). Actually seeing the work up close and seeing videos of the mechanisms, I was blown away. It rather pricked the balloon that I had done something uniquely special.
I invite you all to take a look at YouTube clips of the Roentgen mechanical furniture. You will be amazed. Oh and don’t overlook the marquetry….