Southern German Marquetry Desk
37" x 31.5" x18"
An 18th-century Southern German slope front desk. Slope-top desks, also known as slant-top desks are classified as desks that include a lid that closes at an angle and opens on hinges to reveal a writing surface. Slope-top desks originate in 16th-century Europe, where Spanish craftsmen first created an object of this nature, which they called a vargueño. This style of desk has waxed and waned in popularity over the centuries, and today is most commonly associated with the 18th century. This Southern German marquetry desk is constructed from walnut. Marquetry, or the art of applying pieces of veneer to the surface of an object to form decorative patterns, is apparent, most notably in the lozenges, or diamond-shaped motifs, on the desk’s body. The most notable decorative element is the satin, ebony, and stained walnut star that prominently rests on the center of the lid. The object still retains its original gilded hardware. When opened, the desk features a flat writing surface and multiple small storage compartments. Five additional drawers reside on the desk’s exterior. The item also comes with three keys, originally used for locking both the desk’s inner and outer compartments. A stately object, this Southern German marquetry desk will command attention in any room it resides in.
At this time in Germany, famous composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791) was born on January 27, 1756 in Salzburg. A musical prodigy, Mozart was adept at playing the keyboard and violin by age five, and composed his first piece at age six. Beginning as a child, Mozart toured throughout Europe, performing for royalty and other important patrons. Despite his short life ending at 35, Mozart composed over 800 pieces of music, working in virtually every genre that existed during his lifetime. He is remembered as one of the most influential composers of the classical period.