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Cabinet

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1680-1780 (made)
    1765-1775 (altered)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    The case is of pine and oak, drawers of walnut, veneered with ebonised wood and ebony; upper side panels with marquetry of various woods; lower side panels of <i>contre partie</i> boulle marquetry; upper door panels of <i>premiére partie</i> boulle marquetry; gilt brass mounts; warp faced plain weave silk with watered design (lining to the upper case) edged with warp faced tape combining eight linent warps and ten warps of gold-wrapped silk or linen gold braid; green morocco; marble: Breccia Aurora, Brescia, Lombardy, Italy.

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by John Jones

  • Museum number:

    1045:1-1882

  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 3, case PL4 []

This object was clearly conceived as a cabinet or low cupboard, in the style of larger Boulle marquetry armoires dating from the late seventeenth century. However, its smaller dimensions and the interior fitting of a writing slide are atypical of seventeenth-century Boulle designs; low cabinets attributed to Boulle are usually of wider and lower proportions than those of this cabinet. It was probably made between 1765 and 1775, reusing older marquetry and mounts.

The English collector John Jones (ca. 1799-1882) is said to have paid the considerable sum of £3,500 for this cabinet. He placed it in the larger drawing room on the first floor of 95, Piccadilly, his home from 1865, where its position was described in William Maskell's 1883 Handbook of the Jones Collection: 'Opposite the fireplace was the black boule cabinet (No. 1045) with the three Sèvres vases (Nos. 766, 767)', (pp. 23 and 33). These Sèvres objects are a pair of pot-pourri vases and covers, made 1757-8, and decorated during the nineteenth century (766:1-1882, 766:2-1882, 766A:1-1882 and 766A:2-1882) and a vase and cover made ca. 1775 (767-1882 and 767A-1882).

Physical description

Cabinet; oak, pine and walnut, veneered with ebony, ebonised wood, tortoiseshell, brass and various woods, and with gilt brass mounts and marble top. The cabinet has two large doors with four panels, both top panels have a lyre motif with floral scrolls, and a floral scroll decorative border. There are a large number of gilt brass mounts including acanthus leaf decoration along the top, four straps with lion masks and floral decoration. At the top of each of the upper panels is a mask of a cherub with a sun crown, while above the lower panels are two male satyr masks with raised crests. In the centre of each panel is a motif of a pair of cherubs and acanthus leaf. There is gilt decorative edging with flowers, and four roundels with flowers and berries at the base of the doors. A patera of flowers above each foot, with an apron with scallop shell, acanthus leaf and flower gilt mount. Gilt brass acanthus leaf sleeve decorate the feet.

Place of Origin

Paris (made)

Date

ca. 1680-1780 (made)
1765-1775 (altered)

Artist/maker

Unknown (maker)

Materials and Techniques

The case is of pine and oak, drawers of walnut, veneered with ebonised wood and ebony; upper side panels with marquetry of various woods; lower side panels of contre partie boulle marquetry; upper door panels of premiére partie boulle marquetry; gilt brass mounts; warp faced plain weave silk with watered design (lining to the upper case) edged with warp faced tape combining eight linent warps and ten warps of gold-wrapped silk or linen gold braid; green morocco; marble: Breccia Aurora, Brescia, Lombardy, Italy.

Dimensions

Height: 144.8 cm, Width: 90 cm base, Depth: 47 cm includes mounts at front, Width: 86 cm Top

Descriptive line

Cabinet; oak, pine & walnut, with a marble slab top, France, marquetry panels ca. 1700, cabinet ca. 1765-1775, with later additions.

Labels and date

Cabinet
About 1680–1780

Boulle marquetry, with its elaborate patterns in contrasting turtle shell and brass, had been pioneered in Paris in the 17th century but was still highly prized. This cabinet was probably made by re-using the marquetry panels and gilded brass mounts from an older, larger piece of furniture. Its small size suited the intimate scale of late 18th-century rooms.

France (Paris)
Oak, pine and walnut; marquetry in ebonised woods, turtle shell and brass; gilded brass mounts; marble top
Bequeathed by John Jones
[09/12/2015]
[Label text by Peter Thornton]

Cabinet
French; late 17th century with later alterations
Veneered with ebony inlaid with brass, the panels being of tortoiseshell and two kinds of marquetry; gilt-bronze mounts; marble slab

This handsome cabinet was much prized by John Jones who paid £3,500 for it when he acquired it during the second quarter of the last century. It apparently consists of a late 17th century cabinet with fine mounts and boulle-work marquetry, to which alterations and additions were made during the second half of the 18th century and probably again in the 19th century - perhaps by the cabinet-maker whose initials 'L.C.M.E.' are on the back.

Jones Collection
Museum No. 1045-1882 [1980]

Production Note

The marquetry panels were made ca. 1700, while the cabinet dates ca. 1770-1780, with later additions.

Materials

Pine; Oak; Walnut; Ebony; Ebonized wood; Barberry; Padouk; Sycamore; Holly; Tortoiseshell

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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