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Cabinet on base

  • Place of origin:

    Liguria (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    1550-1560 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved walnut

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Cabinet with fall front and drawers. Carved in low relief, with arabesque ornament.

Place of Origin

Liguria (possibly, made)


1550-1560 (made)

Materials and Techniques

Carved walnut

Object history note

Bought for £200 from Mr Attenborough RF 26653/67

Transcription of J. C. Robinson’s Art Referee Reports, (MA/3/25)
Description of the Auldjo Cabinet

Cabinet with falling front and drawers inside, in walnut wood, elaborately carved with foliate arabesque ornament – repairs on one of the panels in the interior, in a shield of arms, while that of some member of the celebrated family Orsini of Rome – Italian work, circa 1520-50. This cabinet was acquired in Naples by Auldjo Esq [or Sig](?) and was contributed to the exhibition of Decorative Furniture formed by the Science and Art Department in Gore House in 1853 (in catalogue of this collection). It is traditionally said to be the work of one Jacopo da (?) Canova.
Height… Width…
Purchased of Mr Attenborough price £200.
JC Robinson

Minute from JC Robinson to Mr Macleod, 7/11/1867 notes that he has purchased the Auldjo cabinet for £200 from a coaltion of dealers who had bought it for not much under £300 'seven or eight' years ago at Christie and Mansons, at which time he had been the under bidder on behalf of the museum.

The cabinet is listed in Catalogue of a Collection of Works of Decorative Art; being a selection from the Museum at Marlborough House...by J.C.Robinson November 1956 (London, 1856), as:
No. 316 CARVED OAK CABINET - Italian, Date 1520 to 1530 Contributed by John Auldjo, Esq.
It is impossible to estimate too highly the beautfiul arabesques of the finest cinque-cento period, with which this piece is so profusely adorned. There is however unfortunately, a want of repose in the work as a whole; the ornament is too crowded and uniformly distributed, which detracts from the general effect, so that although admirable in detail, the ensemble is a failure. The escutcheon of arms, on the inner panels of the doors, denote it to have been executed for some one of the once powerful Roman family of the Orsini. Purchased in Naples, and traditionally reputed to be the work of one Jacopo da Canova.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

ROWE, Eleanor (ed.), Wood carvings from the South Kensington Museum. Folio IV. Domestic Furniture (London 1889), pl. LXIII to LXVII
Ancient and Modern Furniture & Woodwork in the South Kensington Museum, described with an introduction by John Hungerford Pollen, (London, 1874), p. 69.

Cabinet, with falling front and drawers. Walnut wood, carved in low relief, with arabesque ornament.

Said to be the work of Jacopo di Canova. Italian.

About 1520-50.

H. 5 ft. 6 in., L. 3ft. 9 in., W. 1 ft. 3 in.

Bought, 200l.

The whole external form is a flat surface; the flap front, from which supports draw out, and the drawer fronts, being all occupied with careful arabesque carvings in relief. The upper portion or falling front is divided by delicate lines of moulding into panelled divisions- a centre and border spaces; the dividing-rails and stiles are flat. The carving is disposed evenly over the surfaces, and shows a strong resemblance to the pulpy leaf-work, and delicate life-like carvings of stalk and stem, that marks the work of the Mantovini in Venice, and still more in the work of Jacopo Sansovino in the portions of the ducal palace, the Library of St. Marks and other buildings that show his hand at Venice. Few pieces of Italian furniture come down to us so complete and well preserved, for this has been long in use; and few designs are so well suited to call out the energies and test the delicacy of hand of the carver. There is no effect got by adopting the showy outlines of architectural structure, and the plain wood is entirely indebted to the carving for any effect it may have. At the same time this is a piece of furniture, of which we find few specimens, that loses no space, and makes no sacrifice of the most absolute convenience for salient effect.

Frieda Schottmüller, Furniture and Interior Decoration of the Italian Renaissance (Stuttgart, 1928), fig. 275
Wilhelm von Bode, Italian Renaissance Furniture (originally published as Die Italienischen Hausmöbel der Renaissance, Leipzie 1902, fig. 89) translated by Mary Herrick (New York, 1921), fig. 121






Furniture; Fakes & forgeries; Containers; Renaissance (Italian); Medieval and renaissance


Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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