IT’S UNDERSTOOD that most museums have far more in their collections than they can exhibit. In the case of Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens, an amazing piece of furniture by 18th-century German cabinetmaker David Roentgen is on display all the time, but for a short period of time–through the end of the Thanksgiving weekend–the rolltop desk will be open, displaying the clever mechanisms Roentgen was known for (even to Marie Antoinette).
If you can’t get to Hillwood in time, the museum points us in the direction of a YouTube video, demonstrating the marvelous creation.
As it happens, Roentgen was almost as prolific as he was clever. The Metropolitan Museum in New York displays a Roentgen Rolltop in its own video. It was part of the Met’s 2012 exhibition Extravagant Inventions: the Princely Furniture of the Roentgens, meaning David and his father, Abraham. You can see more of the amusing and inventive pieces at the Met site.