Sekretär aus dem Toilettenzimmer von König Max I. Joseph

Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen


Small but fine is the present secretary, presumably presented to Elector Maximilian IV Joseph (1756-1825, from 1806 as Maximilian I Joseph king of Bavaria) by his wife Karoline (1776-1841) in 1804. It is shown on a watercolour by Ernst Bandel (1800-1876) of 1820/21, depicting the "Toilettenzimmer" (dressing or toiletry room) of King Max I Joseph. The small, only 1.36 m-high secretary was too low for writing. It was rather used to store valuables inside. In view of its size, it offers an astonishing amount of storage space. Behind the two flaps made of amaranth veneer, there are a large number of compartments and drawers. The drawers are made of maple wood. The keyhole for the lower flap is hidden behind a bronze medallion attached to the top left at the outside of the door. Three further medallions are attached to the remaining corners of the secretary’s lower part. All four of them represent girls' heads. The upper part of the "secrétaire à abattant" (folding secretary) is adorned with staffs decorated with laurel leaves and rosettes in fire-gilt bronze. Particularly risqué pieces could be hidden in two secret compartments. One is located under the middle drawer in the upper part, the other under the bottom drawer in the lower part. In order to reach the secret compartments, the drawers had to be lifted out. A copy of the secretary is located in Berchtesgaden Castle, but it is made of alder burl and has no bronze fittings.


Franziska Vogel

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