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...