Fitting Table

of the Elector Carl Theodore of Bavaria and the Palatinate

Court Cabinetmaker Jakob Kieser (1734-1786)

South Germany, Mannheim, circa 1770

The stand of carved walnut, the pine top with marquetry of walnut, rosewood, green-stained poplar, and other marquetry woods. Velvet pin-cushion with horsehair. Iron fittings.

Height: 85,5 cm (33.7 inch)
Width: 48,5 cm (19.1 inch)
Depth: 37,5 cm (14.8 inch) Ref No: 1929

The lower part of the finely carved stand with three virtuoso scroll feet in late rococo taste, leading to a relative plain fluted stem with a ribbon holding a central portrait medallion, as a sign of the beginning neo-classical period.

The stem supports the table top through a wooden thread. The rectangular top is embellished with an elaborate colourful marquetry, composed of contrasting geometrical and floral motifs. In the centre the interlaced monogram CT (of the Elector Carl Theodore). On the underside of the top is a turning pin-cushion, as well as guide rails to both sides, for two small drawers for sewing supplies, which are now lost.

There is also a large historical inventory number (‚136’) in white ink to the underside, an indication that this table was originally part of the court household, where it was a common practice to record all furniture in inventories.

Jakob Kieser:

Johann Christopherus Jacobus Kießer (1734 – 1786, Mannheim) became 1763 court cabinet-maker on the recommendation of the chief architect (‚Oberbaudirektor’) Nicolas de Pigage, who appreciated him as an outstanding and very creative cabinet-maker.

The marquetry of this table has close parallel to signed pieces for furniture by Jakob Kieser, which are now in the collection of the Residenz München. The geometrical patterns with their almost three-dimensional effect, achieved through carefully placed shades, are characteristic for the œuvre of Jakob Kieser.


The table has a height of 85,5 cm (33 ¾ inch) which differs from the usual height of tables. This unusual working height is a clear reference to the special purpose. The table was made for the furnishing of the dressing room at the electoral court. It was used by the personal court dressmaker of Carl Theodore to present new fabrics and accessories, and especially for the fitting and pinning of new garments.

Carl Theodore and Elisabeth Auguste employed several personal dressmakers (”Livreen-Schneider”) at their court in Mannheim. Petra Hesse points out the important role of clothing at the court, not only as a luxury element, but also as a demonstration of power and rank.

This unrecorded table, discovered 2011 in a private collection, belongs to a rare group of furniture, commissioned from the court cabinet-maker Jakob Kieser for the dressing rooms of the Elector Carl Theodore, especially for the fitting and pinning of new garments by the court tailor.