The Roentgens’ Berlin Secretary Cabinet
The Roentgens’ Berlin Secretary Cabinet

Words appear: “Extravagant Inventions. The Princely Furniture of the Roentgens.”
“Berlin Secretary Cabinet” Crowned with a dome with a chiming clock, the tall, ornate cabinet features intricate marquetry panels – veneers inset with wood and ivory, and embellished with copper, to form patterns and images. Keys unlock panels that depict various scenes – such as a man painting at an easel and a small gathering of musicians. The panels swing open, revealing hidden drawers. One small panel slides over to offer access to a keyhole. Drawers pop open and swivel to one side. A large panel lowers to form a writing desk with a pattern of concentric circles. Words appear: “Theatrical players conceal hidden compartments.” A panel showing an actor peeking out from behind a curtain slides to one side. Another slides in – a man leaning on a cane. An attendant presses a decorative button and a drawer springs out. “Inkwell and sand sifter used for writing” are inside. More buttons activate more drawers and panels. A look inside the cabinet shows weights and pulleys. “An internal mechanism reveals hidden drawers.” Gleaming metal decorations incorporate the buttons into the design. A hidden strong box pops up to the level of the writing desk. A key unlocks the rectangular wooden box and its two small drawers. In the section above the writing desk, a key turned to the left and to the right causes twin panels to swivel open. A striped covering pushes back to reveal a deep drawer. An attendant unlocks the larger panel between the twins. The attendant turns a key. More words: “An internal mechanism releases the hidden easel.” A cord over a pulley raises a weight. At the front of the cabinet, polished wooden panels unfold, creating an easel. The attendant demonstrates the hidden easel one more time. “Footage courtesy of VideoART GmbH and Kunstgewerbemuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.”

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