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Pair of plinths

Pair of plinths

  • Place of origin:

    Paris

  • Date:

    1700-1725

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Substrate of unidentified softwood painted black; veneered with turtleshell inlaid with engraved brass, and with ebonized wood; gilt brass mounts

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by John Jones

  • Museum number:

    1033&A-1882

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

These plinths probably date from the early eighteenth century, and were made to support a pair of small-scale bronzes.

The opulent decoration is achieved using a form of marquetry named after its most famous proponent, André-Charles Boulle, cabinet-maker to Louis XIV of France. This technique involves the simultaneous cutting of layers of brass or pewter and layers of tortoiseshell to create both a dark motif with a light background and a light motif with a dark background, a little like a photograph and a negative. The contrast created by using metal and tortoiseshell is sometimes heightened by staining the shell or backing it with a coloured foil.

Physical description

Pair of low rectangular plinths with coved sides veneered with boulle marquetry and fitted with elaborate corner mounts, each comprising a female mask with headdress, set within a lambrequin and rising from a pair of entwined, scaly mermaids' tails, and edged with foliage, scrolls and strap work.

Place of Origin

Paris

Date

1700-1725

Materials and Techniques

Substrate of unidentified softwood painted black; veneered with turtleshell inlaid with engraved brass, and with ebonized wood; gilt brass mounts

Marks and inscriptions

389
Inscribed in pencil on underside of 1033-1882

No / 1784
On underside of 1033A-1882, glued over the black paint, is a small rectangular paper label printed with a decorative blue border, inscribed in the centre

Dimensions

Height: 99 mm, Width: 235 mm, Depth: 216 mm

Descriptive line

Pair of low rectangular plinths

Materials

Ebonized wood; Turtleshell; Brass; Gilt brass

Categories

Furniture; Marquetry

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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