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Desk and showcase
  • Desk and showcase
    Moser, Koloman, born 1868 - died 1918
  • Enlarge image

Desk and showcase

  • Place of origin:

    Vienna (city) (made)

  • Date:

    1904 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Moser, Koloman, born 1868 - died 1918 (designer)
    Weiner Werkstätte (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Maple, mainly ebonised, with nickel-plated brass handles and locks

  • Museum number:

    W.25:1 to 7-1982

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This desk and showcase was designed by Koloman Moser as part of a wedding present commission in 1904. It was conceived as part of the furnishings of a drawing room en suite with a sofa and chairs (one of which, W.24-1982, is in the V&A's collection).

The outline of the fall-front desk is similar to that of a late 18th-century secretaire á abattant but the showcase on top is a novel feature. The elongated oval and diamond shapes of the showcase make a bold decorative statement and are repeated on the sofa and chairs. It appears Moser used both historical and modern motifs: a sofa of about 1820 in Regensburg Museum, Germany, has similar geometric ornament in its back and sides.

Physical description

Desk of ebonised maple, the four feet with nickel-plated brass caps, supporting five drawers, above which a fall-front bureau writing surface which opens to reveal a number of compartments. Above is a mounted showcase of glass, with an ebonised wooden framework composed of square-sectioned elements, geometrically arranged in patterns of ovals, centred by elongated diamond shapes. The handles and lockplates are of nickel-plated brass, the hinged handles countersunk to lie flush within the backplates.

Note on key: key fits fall front and 2 upper doors but does not appear to operate (2018)

Place of Origin

Vienna (city) (made)

Date

1904 (made)

Artist/maker

Moser, Koloman, born 1868 - died 1918 (designer)
Weiner Werkstätte (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Maple, mainly ebonised, with nickel-plated brass handles and locks

Marks and inscriptions

Wiener Werkstätte trademark
1) Makers's mark; Locks

Dimensions

Height: 140 cm, Width: 99.5 cm, Depth: 50 cm

Historical context note

In the summer of 1904 Margarethe Hellmann was married. As a wedding present her apartment was decorated by the newly-founded Wiener Werkstätte. This desk was in the drawing room together with a chest-of-drawers, a vitrine, an oval table, two stools, a sofa, and two armchairs, en suite.

Descriptive line

to Desk, one modern, two old with pierced rectangular heads.

Austrian 1904 des. K.Moser man. Wiener Werkstatte

Austrian 1904 des. K.Moser man. Wiener Werkstatte

Austrian 1904 des. K.Moser man. Wiener Werkstatte

Austrian 1904 des. K.Moser man. Wiener Werkstatte

Austrian 1904 des. K.Moser man. Wiener Werkstatte

Austrian 1904 des. K.Moser man. Wiener Werkstatte

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Jervis, Simon: Furniture Of About 1900 From Austria & Hungary In The Victoria & Albert Museum, London: Victoria & Albert Museum, 1986, no.20, p. 52, 53
Lux, Josef August: 'Die Moderne Welt', Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration, XVI, 1905, pp.521-531, illus. closed Notenschrank and open Schreibkasten.

Labels and date

DESK AND SHOWCASE

Designed by Koloman Moser (Austrian, 1868-1918)
Made by the Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshops), Vienna, Austria
Maple, mainly ebonised, with nickel-plated brass handles and locks
1904

Part of a suite of furniture made as a wedding present for Margarethe Hellman, sister of the wife of the financial backer of the Wiener Werkstätte, Fritz Wärndorfer.

W.25-1982 []

Materials

Maple; Nickel; Brass (alloy); Stain

Techniques

Cabinet-making; Staining; Plating

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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