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Unlocking the Roentgen desk

This unique novelty cylinder mechanical desk combines the mechanical ingenuity of clock-making with fine cabinet-making. It was conserved for the exhibition George IV: Art & Splendour by Paul Cradock, recently retired Senior Horological Conservator, and Shaun Turner, Senior Furniture Conservator. The desk was designed and made by David Roentgen, an astute businessman, clockmaker and cabinet-maker who was patronised by George IV, Marie Antoinette and Catherine the Great.

Watch the film below to see how the desk has been restored back to the factory settings of 1785.

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The Roentgen desk's frame is comprised of 2,224 pieces. Explore the model below to see exactly how these pieces fit together to produce such an intricate piece of craftsmanship.

Explore this digital model to understand the construction of the Roentgen desk's timber frame.

Attributed to David Roentgen (1743-1807)

Mechanical cylinder bureau