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  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1700 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Walnut with marquetry of sycamore and lighter woods

  • Museum number:

    W.14:1 to 7-1936

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This chest of drawers was made in England in about 1700. It was decorated with marquetry, then at its most fashionable, and a form of veneer made up of small pieces of natural and artificially coloured woods and applied to all types of furniture, ranging from tables and cabinets to long case clocks. The patterns derived from Dutch still-lives of flowers, particularly tulips, and elaborate scrollwork, devised by French cabinetmakers such as Pierre and Cornelius Gole and André-Charles Boulle, famed for his bronze, pewter and tortoiseshell veneers. Rather than being cut into the carcase wood like inlay, marquetry is glued to the surface.

Physical description

English: about 1700

Walnut with marquetry of sycamore and a lighter walnut. Oblong form with projecting base and top. On the top, a panel with semi-circular ends, containing a symmetrical design of leafy stems (seaweed marquetry). Five drawers in four tiers, the topmost layer containing a pair of drawers. Drawer partitions fronted with rounded beading. Marquetry designs on the drawer front.

Place of Origin

England (made)


ca. 1700 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Walnut with marquetry of sycamore and lighter woods


Height: 28 cm, Length: 43.2 cm, Depth: 31.4 cm

Object history note

Marquetry cabinet, gift of Sir Paul A Makins, Bt

Notes from R.P. 36/2940

18/4/36 Letter, Makins to H Clifford Smith
offers "a small cabinet …..in seaweed pattern…about the William & Mary period"

7/6/36 Report, Edwards
"this small cabinet of walnut inlaid with arabesque marquetry, light on dark ground: the sides are decorated with figured walnut. The style of the inlay and the half round mouldings between the drawers indicate a date about 1700…..cabinet of such small size is rare & this is an attractive example. It has lost its original turned handles & there are traces of Victorian repairs, but it is substantially genuine and of the period".

Minute, H Clifford Smith to Director
Requests the Director's acceptance for this "very high class example of English 'seaweed' marquetry….except for the small repairs…appears to be original throughout".

Correspondence, Smith with Makins
Makins later expresses his disappointment that the V & A displayed the miniature cabinet without removing the brass escutcheons from it. Smith writes to him 3 July to say the escutcheons had been taken off and the cabinet looks better without them.

Descriptive line

Walnut cabinet; England; 1700


Walnut; Sycamore


Marquetry; Joining


Furniture; Containers; Woodwork; Medieval and renaissance


Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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