Category Archives: David Roentgen Papers

David Roentgen Papers, 1773-1820

David Roentgen (1743-1807) was cabinetmaker to Queen Marie-Antoinette of France, Empress Catherine II of Russia, and King Frederick William II of Prussia. There was a recent exhibition at The Met, Extravagant Inventions: The Princely Furniture of the Roentgens, which featured some of his work.

Postcard reproduction of framed portrait of David Roentgen

Postcard reproduction of framed portrait of David Roentgen

The Roentgen family workshop was located at Neuwied, near Cologne. David Roentgen was admitted as maître ébéniste to the trade corporation of Paris cabinetmakers in 1780. Empress Catherine II of Russia bought large quantities of his furniture after Roentgen’s first visit to St. Petersburg. King Frederick William II of Prussia was also his client, and Roentgen eventually was appointed court furnisher to the king of Prussia. Roentgen’s early work was in the rococo style, but this was abandoned between 1775 and 1780 for classical forms.

The David Roentgen Papers, 1773-1820 collection includes family correspondence, chiefly letters from Roentgen to his son Phil. Jakob and to his brother Johannes, as well as business documents, including letters addressed to Roentgen, chiefly from Frederick William II of Prussia or his agents, a letter patent from Frederick William II of Prussia, and a receipt for payment of furniture made for Catherine II of Russia. Also included is this “Appointment of David Roentgen as Privy Councillor to the Prussian Court, February 23, 1791″:

HighlightsRoentgen2There are additional Roentgen family papers, including: a letter from David’s wife Dorothea to her son Phil. Jakob; letters from various correspondents addressed to their son, A. Roentgen; the will of Dorothea Roentgen, dated Sept. 13, 1819; and a genealogical notebook with entries by Dorothea Roentgen (and others?) between 1773 and 1823.

One of the more visually exciting items in the collection is a photographic reproduction of a silhouette composition by J.F. Anthing, labeled on the recto “David Röntgen,” the original of which is identified as being owned by The Metropolitan Museum of Art Print Department:

Postcard reproduction of a painted silhouette by J.F. Anthing, ca. 1784-1786

Postcard reproduction of a painted silhouette by J.F. Anthing, ca. 1784-1786

The following items also form part of the collection: a group of six unidentified silhouettes (by David Roentgen) wrapped in a folded sheet of paper labeled “Frau Rötchen”; a photographic reproduction of a portrait identified as “David Röntgen”; an engraved portrait of Ephraim Stare; two unidentified photos of caskets presumably made by the Roentgen workshop.