HomeObject Detail

Writing bureau; Seuffert Anton; 1867; PF000206

Writing bureau, Seuffert Anton, 1867, PF000206
Writing bureau
About this object
Secretaire' is the name for an enclosed writing desk, usually with a top cabinet. This secretaire was given to English botanist Sir Joseph Hooker when his book Handbook of New Zealand Flora was published in 1867. A group of 'grateful colonists' had paid cabinetmaker Anton Seuffert to make the desk especially to congratulate and thank Sir Joseph.

Attention to detail

Anton Seuffert, an admired cabinetmaker who worked in Auckland, New Zealand, was chosen to make the secretaire. Seuffert was famed for his detailed marquetry work, an art where pieces of wood are inlaid into furniture to create decoration.

For Sir Joseph's secretaire, Seuffert created a structure of New Zealand kauri wood, and then finished it with other native woods, including kauri, burr tōtara, rewarewa, püriri, and kohekohe. Marquetry on the front of the secretaire's main door shows a moa, a kiwi, and marine mammals, with a globe centred on New Zealand

Sir Joseph Hooker

Joseph Hooker (1817-1911) was an English born botanist who made voyages to New Zealand and the South Pacific between 1839 and 1843 to research plants of the area. He published books on the plants he found and inspired others in New Zealand to study botany. He has several New Zealand plants named after him, including the pōkākā tree (Elaeocarpus hookerianus).

On display

Sir Joseph kept the secretaire in his drawing room. In 1886, the cabinet was exhibited in the Colonial and Indian Exhibition in London.

See more at Te Papa's Collections Online: http://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/ObjectDetails.aspx?oid=58055

Maker Role
Date Made
Place Made
New Zealand
1420 x 710 x 1230 mm
Credit Line
Purchased 1987
Object Type
Object number



Include tags such as place names, people, dates, events and colours. Use commas to separate multiple tags. e.g. Pablo Picasso, Madrid, red, 1930s.

Copyright Licence Help
All rights reserved
+ Add Comment