Europe 1300 - 1800
- A beginner's guide to the Age of Enlightenment
- A beginner's guide to Rococo art
- The Formation of a French School: the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture
- Antoine Watteau, Pilgrimage to Cythera
- Watteau, Pilgrimage to Cythera
- Boucher, Madame de Pompadour
- The Tiepolo Family
- Vigée Le Brun, Self-Portrait with her Daughter, Julie
- Vigée Le Brun, Self-Portrait with her Daughter
- Vigée Le Brun, Self-Portrait
- Vigée Le Brun, Madame Perregaux
- Unlocking an 18th-century French mechanical table
- Bernard II van Risenburgh, Writing table
- Construction of an 18th-century French mechanical table
- The inlay technique of marquetry
- Fragonard, The Swing
- Fragonard, The Swing
- Fragonard, The Swing
- Fragonard, The Meeting
- Greuze, The Village Bride
- Architecture in 18th-century Germany
- Joachim Michael Salecker, Cup with cover with Hebrew inscriptions
- Maria Sibylla Merian, an introduction
- Rococo Art
Unlocking an 18th-century French mechanical table
Discover how an affluent lady of 18th-century France may have used this ornate mechanical table for leisure and work. With a turn of a key, this table transforms into a desk with compartments. Learn about how it operates and its many features. Created by Getty Museum.
Want to join the conversation?
- Why aren't these used anymore?(17 votes)
- We made this video to demonstrate how it works as it's an 18th-century fragile piece and every time the mechanics are activated it stresses it; the video helps to preserve the table. Recently a young woodworker and furniture maker was inspired by this video to make a similar table! You can check out his project on Kickstarter: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1309589821/re-creating-an-18th-century-oeben-mechanical-table -Maria from the Getty Museum(26 votes)
- How sturdy are the mechanisms present in this table? Looking at it I think about how easy it must have been to break since there are so many delicate moving parts, as well as parts such as latches that would get a lot of human interaction that could damage them. Were the parts in this table in need of constant replacement, or were they built sturdier than similar parts today?(7 votes)
- The furniture and other items in the 1700-1800 are usually of higher quality, both in the aspect of artistry and durability. Two common examples would be the umbrellas and bookshelves of today. In comparison to their 1700 or 1800 counterpart they were made from lesser materials, since the focus of our industrialized age is mass production instead of artistry and durability.
In short, in this age manufacturers prefer to prioritize quantity over quality which actually in a sense is practical in its own right.(4 votes)
- This is so awesome!
How much would this have cost when it was built?(2 votes)
- Really superb cabinetry...causes a great deal of curiosity in me about the number of wood types, inlay materials, as well as metal stocks used for the hidden mechanisms?(2 votes)
- How much would a table like this cost today vs in the 1800's?(2 votes)
- The table looks rather small (it's very beautiful), how were people able to write letters? was there a specific seat that they used for this table?(1 vote)
- was there anything inside the mechanical table?(1 vote)
- Probably not ,if your'e talking about the one in the vidieo(1 vote)
- I want one... for every room in the house. I hope these types of furniture come back in vogue. I could imagine college students with similar pieces - what with the portability and transformability of this piece. And then the storage space! Four storage spaces on this piece, itself, if I'm not mistaken.
Imagine the largest drawer filled with reference materials, the compartments filled with a small laptop and writing materials (and calculator), and the secret compartment with personal items. My desks are always a mess, but with that many drawers, I think I cold manage to keep the top clear, perhaps.
Furniture like this is what I'd love to see more of.(1 vote)
- Would this have been produced as a "one off" or would several have been made?(1 vote)
Voiceover: In 18th century France, an affluent lady might spend hours at a fashionable table, engaged in leisure or work. When Jean-François Oeben designed this table, he kept the owner's privacy in mind. He devised hidden mechanisms to open it into a desk with the turn of a key. (table banging open) (table closing) (key turning) (drawer opening) After years, the colors of the marquetry surface have altered, but their original appearance was quite brilliant. Patterns of wood veneer camouflaged compartments. (drawer opening and closing) The design of this table offers clues about how it was once used. (drawer sliding open) Letters could be safeguarded in a fragrant, juniper wood drawer. (drawer sliding closed) Supplies could be stored in lidded inner compartments. The owner could draft correspondence on a silk covered surface. The writing service could be transformed into a bookrest. Whether the desk was open or closed, items were accessible from a side drawer. (key jiggling) (drawer opening) (drawer closing) (table closing) The table was designed to be portable and could be moved aside, until ready for use again.