About this artwork
German cabinetmaker Heinrich Ludwig Rohde worked in Mainz, a prosperous university town on the Rhine River. As court cabinetmaker to Elector Lothar Franz Schönborn, Archbishop of Mainz and Prince of the Holy Roman Empire, Rohde was responsible for much of the decoration at the Schönborn’s sumptuous palace at Pommersfelden, from the marquetry floors and mirrored cabinets to the porcelain-decorated rooms.
The marquetry incorporates varieties of wood that would have been readily available in Germany, like maple, walnut, spruce, and oak, as well as costly imported materials like mahogany and amaranth. They are finely pieced together in geometric and naturalistic patterns; at the center of the fall front is a salamander, a creature able reputed by myth to be invulnerable to fire. An unusual motif, it probably held some kind of significance for the desk’s original owner.
— About This Object, European Decorative Arts LaunchPad app
- Currently Off View
- Applied Arts of Europe
- Heinrich Ludwig Rohde
- Slant-Front Desk
- Made 1715–1725
- Marquetry with maple, amaranth, mahogany, and walnut on spruce and oak
- 90 × 84 × 44.5 cm (35 7/16 × 33 1/16 × 17 1/2 in.)
- Purchased with funds provided by Kathryn Gilbertson, Kay and Frederick Krehbiel, Doris and Stanford Marks, Mrs. Eric Oldberg, Harry Root, and Melinda and Paul Sullivan; through prior acquisition of Robert Allerton; European Decorative Arts Purchase Fund