• Henry van de Velde Gut Lauterbach Table
This model, an elegant small drawing-room table, goes back to a design Henry van de Velde first executed in 1902 for his mentor and impresario, Harry, Count Kessler, for the Count's new domicile in Cranach Strasse in Weimar. There the prototype was made in an elongated oval as well as two smaller, round variants, both of which were also used for a number of other commissions. Herbert Esche, a textiles manufacturer in Chemnitz, was, with Julius Meier-Graefe, Kessler, Eberhard von Bodenhausen, the Berlin painter Curt Herrmann and others, one of Henry van de Velde's most important promoters and patrons in Germany.

About 1907, Esche also persuaded his cousin, Arnold Esche, to entrust the Belgian designer with an important commission. It entailed extensive remodelling and the furnishing and appointing of numerous rooms in the Chemnitz industrialist's country house, Gut Lauterbach near Crimmitschau in Saxony. The house on this estate situated near Gera provided van de Velde with the opportunity of working on a palatial Neo-Renaissance building dating from the 1880s. To save money, the exterior was to be kept as it was.

However, van de Velde was given carte blanche to do as he liked with the interior. He accordingly designed some sumptuous rooms which are among the best he did at that time. The partition of Germany following the second world war caused this commission to be almost forgotten. The Esche family was dispossessed after 1945 in the course of land reform and, until only a few years ago, the local communal administration as well as a number of flats occupied the manor house at Gut Lauterbach, with disastrous consequences for the appearance of the interior.

Now the building is empty, awaiting new occupants. The elegant little drawing-room table is a one-of-a-kind piece. It is fitted out with a top of Saxon "coloured marble", the work of Scheidemantel, furniture-makers in Weimar, probably expressly for this commission. The model is in the Bauhaus Museum, Kunstsammlungen zu Weimar. One-of-a-kind with coloured marble top Executed in solid beechwood, stained Top: granite, called ''coloured marble''

H: 74 cm, W: 65 cm, D: 65 cm

Henry van de Velde