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Mathäus Funk (1697-1783), writing chest with two-door top around 1745-50 (TYPE F)

Mathäus Funk (1697-1783), writing chest with two-door top around 1745-50 (TYPE F)

Regular price CHF 65,000.00
Regular price Sale price CHF 65,000.00
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Writing chest with two-door top around 1745-50 (TYPE F)

Writing desk with 4 stepped flat drawers on each side, two drawers and 3 drawers in the middle section. Curved drawers in the top, five larger ones on the sides, a removable niche box in the middle section, including eight small drawers and one large drawer under the gable. Inlaid coat of arms in writing flap of the family v. Large (Bern/Weimar) in the style of Boulle marquetry (chased brass, two-tone tortoiseshell, amber and mother-of-pearl).

Walnut grain, chest of drawers double frieze. Instead of false beaded traverses, spring frieze on the two upper drawers. The flap and top doors have triple frieze, the sides with double frieze and narrow feather frieze. All bead traverses are covered with brass on the edges. Handles of the chest of drawers with busts and headdress. Floral calico paper, beige ground with spiral flowers cut out in white, leaves partly green and pink tinted.


Gabriel v. Gross (Bern/Weimar)

This writing chest was specially commissioned for the Von Gross family (

This Trois Corps is in incredibly beautiful, honest condition. A few small chips to the veneer and age-related marginal scratches. Key available. In the chest of drawers, the original calico paper was probably replaced with blue in the 19th century. A sign of the marquetry work, which probably served as a sample for the customer, is included with the furniture, as well as a black and white photo of Gabriel v. Large sitting in front of the furniture in Junkerngasse, as well as the family coat of arms painted behind glass will be given to the new owner.

Estimate: 65-75'k



As the eldest son of Johann Lorenz Funk and Anna Margaretha

Sergeant Mathäus Funk (1697-1783) was born in Murten and was baptized there on April 18, 1697. Nothing is known about Mathäus Funk's childhood in Murten and Bern. His training is also obscure. The only thing we learn from a report by the Council of Commerce from 1736 is that he learned his art of ebonistry on a long journey and practiced it in Frankfurt am Main and in Paris. Since the names of the Ebenists are mentioned in the relevant files, but hardly ever those of their journeymen and apprentices, research into Mathäus Funk in Frankfurt am Main has not yielded any results. One can therefore only assume that he began an apprenticeship that lasted four years at the age of around 15. He probably began his wandering years around 1716. He spent eight years perfecting his skills as a journeyman before settling back in Bern in 1724. The Burgerkammer allowed him to take up residence in Bern on November 23rd of this year, describing him as an artistic ebony artist and gilder. A year later in Bern he married Maria Magdalena Wäber (1697-1750), the daughter of the citizen Daniel Wäber (1675-1731), a cloth maker and dyer in Bern, and Margarethe, née Inselin (1665-1733?). As a Hintersäss he received the necessary permission from the choir court on March 19, 1725.


The couple were given four boys and six girls between 1726 and 1738. The fact that Mathäus Funk received a residence permit in Bern in 1724 as a non-Bernese with a hometown of Thielle (Principality of Neuchâtel) meant that the decision-making bodies were obviously aware of his outstanding talents. Funk enjoyed a not insignificant amount of goodwill from the authorities, who saved face towards the Bern city masters and the country's external masters by ensuring that Funk was and remained merely tolerated for decades. Nothing was forgiven. The permit had to be renewed every year. In fact, the jealous masters of the belt making trade opposed him in particular, so that he complained to the Burgerkammer in 1729. The belters prevented him from "continuing the art of ebony, which he had learned on the road for a long time, with all sorts of inlaid work made of brass, mother-of-pearl, tortoiseshell and ebony and whatever else might be useful to him for such work." It would not have been easy for him to get a residence permit to renew more. But that was by no means in the interests of the authorities. Funk had proven that he worked as well as the masters in Paris. Now you had an expert in the capital and were no longer obliged to procure the elegant, modern furniture and clocks abroad.

Source: FONCK A BERNE, Hermann v. Fisherman

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