Pair of Encoignures

1760-1765 (made)
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Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This pair of corner cupboards (encoignures) is stamped by the German-born cabinetmaker Jean François Oeben (1721-1763). Oeben, who came to Paris in 1749, was made a Master cabinetmaker in 1754. He was given a license to supply furniture to the French royal palaces in 1759.

Oeben was among the first cabinetmakers to adopt the Neoclassical style, of which this pair of cupboards is an important early example. The cubed marquetry decoration on the sides of the cupboards, and the forms of the gilt-brass mounts, are particularly typical of Oeben's Neoclassical work.


object details
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 7 parts.

  • Key
  • Encoignure
  • Drawer
  • Drawer
  • Encoignure
  • Marble Slab
  • Marble Slab
Materials and Techniques
oak veneered with tulipwood; marquetry in tulipwood, kingwood and green-stained sycamore; gilt-brass mounts and marble slab.
Brief Description
Pair of encoignures with doors showing floral marquetry, by Jean-François Oeben. French, c. 1760
Physical Description
Pair of triangular corner cupboards (encoignures) on raised feet. Each with a single frieze drawer, above two doors enclosing a single cupboard.



The cases are of oak, veneered with tulipwood. On either side of the cupboard doors are vertical curvilinear strips, decorated with a cubed marquetry pattern in tulipwood, kingwood and green-stained sycamore. Reserves on the friezes, plinths and back edges of the front stiles are veneered with reserves of green-stained sycamore. Each cupboard door is decorated with a marquetry panel showing a different bouquet of flowers. These include lilies, roses and carnations.



Each cabinet has gilt-brass mounts and a marble slab. Both cases are stamped, underneath the marble, 'J.F. OEBEN' and 'JME'.
Dimensions
  • Height: 91cm
  • Width: 27cm
  • Depth: 51cm
Marks and Inscriptions
Stamped on the top of each case: 'J.F. Oeben' and 'JME'
Gallery Label
[Label text by Peter Thornton] Pair of corner cupboards ('encoignures') French (Paris); about 1760-62 Stamped 'J.F. Oeben' Veneered with various woods in marquetry panels. Gilt bronze mounts. The slabs of Portor marble and brass bands are replacements The ébéniste Jean-François Oeben was accredited to the French court and was among the very first cabinet-makers to adopt the Neo-Classical style, of which this pair of corner cupboards is an important early example. He died in January 1763 and, while his window continued to produce furniture that was stamped with his name, there is good reason to believe that these cupboards were designed and perhaps even constructed during his lifetime. Jones Collection Museum No. 114-1882(1980)
Credit line
Bequeathed by John Jones
Object history
This pair of corner cupboards entered the Museum in 1882 as part of a large bequest by the military tailor John Jones. Nothing is know about their provenance before they entered Mr Jones' collection.



In 1899, measured drawings of the cabinets were published by the Museum in W.G. Paulson Townsend's book Measured Drawings of French Furniture in the South Kensington Museum (plates 102-6). This book allowed contemporary cabinet-makers to make reproductions of French 18th-century furniture, supplying the vibrant market that existed for these objects in late 19th-century London.
Summary
This pair of corner cupboards (encoignures) is stamped by the German-born cabinetmaker Jean François Oeben (1721-1763). Oeben, who came to Paris in 1749, was made a Master cabinetmaker in 1754. He was given a license to supply furniture to the French royal palaces in 1759.



Oeben was among the first cabinetmakers to adopt the Neoclassical style, of which this pair of cupboards is an important early example. The cubed marquetry decoration on the sides of the cupboards, and the forms of the gilt-brass mounts, are particularly typical of Oeben's Neoclassical work.
Bibliographic References
  • W.G. Paulson Townsend, Measured drawings of French furniture in the South Kensington Museum (London 1899), part 11, plates 102-6
  • Eriksen, Svend. Early Neo-Classicism in France. London: Faber & Faber, 1974, 432 pp, ill. ISBN 0 571 08717 5, p.314, pl. 96
  • Emilia, Lady Dilke, French Furniture and Decoration in the XVIIIth Century. London: George Bell & Sons, 1901, pp. 165-6. illustrated on plate opp. p. 164.
Collection
Accession Number
1114-1882

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record createdApril 16, 2008
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