Object Image

Nécessaire with a watch, in the form of a secretaire


Samuel Johnson (b.1709, d.1784) considered luxury trinkets such as this nécessaire ‘a thing more show than use, a pretty commodity, a trifle’. Known as ‘toys’, they ranked among the most fashionable and novel objects produced during the 18th century. Modelled in the form of a fall-front desk and bookcase (secrétaire), in gold cagework and pink agate, its working locks and catches imitate actual furniture. It was probably produced in London and the watch imported from France.

Earliest Rothschild collector: Baron Edmond de Rothschild; b.1845, d.1934

Credit: Accepted by HM Government in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to the National Trust for display at Waddesdon Manor, 1990...

c 1770 {and 19th century}
Gold, pink agate, glass, textile and leather case, enamel, steel and brass
Image and text © Waddesdon Manor, 2019

Where you'll find this

Waddesdon Manor
Permanent collection

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