June 2022

Theophilus Wilhelm Frese,

View of a cabinet showcase in rococo style, around 1750

Pen, brush, red wash

40,0 cm x 25,7 cm


TIB Slg. A. Haupt, kl. D. Z. 51

An example of the generalist claim that the Haupt-Collection was also intended to serve as a teaching collection for the artistic training of architects in its time are the numerous prints and hand drawings with historical furniture or other interior designs.  Among them, the sheet with the view of a cabinet showcase in rococo forms stands out. It is unusual in that it is a furniture design made probably around 1750 by the well-known stone sculptor and ivory carver Theophilus Wilhelm Fre(e)se (1696-1763), who was active in Bremen in the first half of the 18th century. The sheet, signed but not dated by Frese himself, is an indication that Frese and his workshop, in which he employed more than twenty people at times, not only carried out commissions for ivory carvings or sculptural work, but probably also supplied designs for cabinetmaking.

The numbering of the sheet and the design (No 3) indicates that the design was part of a series of different furniture designs that Frese probably presented to his customer. Under the sheet he explains: "No 3 ist ein moderne Vorstellung nach der itzigen neusten man nier. Gosta [,] daß solches wird woll gefallen." In its ornamental quality, the piece of furniture is at least on a par with Frese's well-known works in stone or ivory, most of which are now in the Focke Museum in Bremen.

Simon Paulus