Table thumbnail 1
Table thumbnail 2
+11
images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Europe 1600-1815, Room 5 (La Tournerie)

This object consists of 4 parts, some of which may be located elsewhere.

Table

1650-1660 (made), 1766 (repaired)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

This table has long been paired with a cabinet-on-stand that is also in the V&A collections (W.8-1965). They are decorated with a technique known as lacque incrusté (inlaid lacquer) that imitates Asian lacquer, reflecting Antwerp’s close trading links with East Asia.

In this technique the piece of furniture was veneered in ebony, that was then incised and filled with a composition made up with shellac and various colouring agents. In certain areas the surface might be scattered, while soft, with chips of marble or mother-of-pearl, then polished to imitate namban lacquer, which was made in Japan for the export market. The table is also veneered with plaques of turtle-shell, set against a red ground.

The two pieces came from the collection of the Earls of Craven at Combe Abbey, Warwickshire. They may have been bought in Antwerp by the 1st Earl of Craven (1606-1697). He was a close friend and supporter of Elizabeth of Bohemia (1596-1662), the sister of Charles I (1600-1649) and was with her in exile in the Southern Netherlands between 1649 and 1660. It is also possible that she gave or bequeathed the pieces to him.

Object details

Category
Object type
Parts
This object consists of 4 parts.

  • Table
  • Key
  • Drawer
  • Drawer
Materials and techniques
Carcase of pine and oak, veneered in ebony, turtle shell and ivory, the ebony ornamented with 'inlaid lacquer', a resinous compound which is coloured and set with chips of marble and mother-of-pearl
Brief description
A table with two drawers in the frieze, raised on four facetted legs joined by an angled stretcher panel, the table veneered in turtle shell set over a red ground, with imitation lacquer decoration, including fragments of mother-of-pearl, the table and stretcher panel outlined with mouldings chequered in ebony and ivory. The drawers are lined with geometric marquetry in purplewood veneer with ivory stringing. Antwerp, Southern Netherlands, ca. 1650-1660
Physical description
A rectangular table with two drawers in the frieze, raised on four facetted legs joined by a single stretcher panel of double-Y form, the table veneered in turtle shell set over a red ground, with imitation lacquer decoration, including fragments of mother-of-pearl (laque incrusté), the table and stretcher panel outlined with mouldings chequered in ebony and ivory. The drawers are lined with geometric marquetry in purplewood veneer with ivory stringing.




Dimensions
  • Height: 770mm
  • Width: 1285mm
  • Depth: 805mm
Measured by Conservation for Europe 1600-1800
Marks and inscriptions
Daniell Ogden is a Whoring Dog and has Got the Crankhams 1766 Dam the Liers (This inscription in pencil is written on the right side of the left-hand drawer compartment. It is only visible when the drawer is removed and must have been written at a time when the central drawer compartment was removed, presumably for repairs in 1766 in England. )
Gallery label
  • Label draft TABLE En suite with the cabinet (W.8-1965) Tables with elaborate tops were clearly intended for show and were not meant to be covered with tablecloths of 'table carpets'. Tables with decorated tops began to appear in the 16th century, but were still comparatively uncommon when this table was made in the middle of the 17th century. The present example, with its pattern exectured in colour composition, may have been made in imitation of tables with scagliola tops. The black-and-white bordering is a common feature on tables made in the Netherlands during the second half of the 17th century. (1968)
  • TABLE (EN SUITE WITH ADJACENT CABINET) FLEMISH (Antwerp); about 1650 Ebony veneered on oak with composition of [sic], tortoiseshell, ivory and mother-of-pearl ornament, and gilt-bronze mounts The floral ornament in composition on these two pieces was probably intended as a cheap imitation of scagliola. Similar cabinets were exported all over Europe by the firm of Forschoudt of Antwerp. The cabinet and table were in the collection of the Earl of Craven and may have been purchased by the 1st Earl when on the continent in the mid-17th century in the service of Queen Elizabeth of Bohemia. An alteration to the table bears a pencil scribble "Daniel Ogden is a Whoring Dog and has got the Crankhams 1766", to which Ogden has replied "Dam the Liers". W.7-1965(1994)
Object history
Possibly bought by William Craven, 1st Earl of Craven (1608-1697), who left England after the execution of Charles I in 1649 to join the court of Elizabeth of Bohemia (1596-1662), sister of Charles I and widow of Frederick V, Elector Palatine and King of Bohemia (1596-1632). He returned to Britain after the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 and planned to build a large palace at Hamstead Marshall, Berkshire, for the widowed queen. After she died in 1662 he continued to build the house as a memorial to her. This table and its associated cabinet (W.8-1965) may well have been intended for that house, which was designed by the Dutch-born architect Sir Balthasar Gerbier (1592-1663) as a miniature version of her old home at Heidelburg Castle in Germany. They would have been highly fashionable at the time it was planned but it is unlikely that they ever were in that house, as the house was burnt to the ground in 1718 and, presumably, all its furnishings with it.

It should be noted, however, that the tables and cabinet are not a set, the workmanship and materials of the table being of higher quality than those of the cabinet, and it is always possible that one or other were acquired by the Craven family later, supporting a sense of family history. Or is just may be that two pieces, of differing quality, were purchased. The table was clearly in Britain by the time that the inscription was added in 1766 but the cabinet shows signs of a 19th-century restoration, with the addition of an armorial plaque (now stored within the cabinet). Such an addition would be most likely if the piece were purchased as an antique in the mid-19th century, but it is always possible that the restoration and embellishment was done for the family that had already owned it for nearly two centuries.

The table, with its associated cabinet were at Combe Abbey, Warwickshire, which the family owned until 1923. Photos in Country Life at the beginning of the twentieth century show a house with collections that had clearly developed steadily from the 17th century. The inventory of Combe in 1739 listed both a table and a cabinet in ebony (in the Nursery and Closetts and the Great Parlour respectively) but the description is not close enough to identify these. A duo of table and cabinet 'Inlaid wit Tortishell, Pearl, Ivery & Ornamented with Brass' were listed in the 1769 inventory, in the Green Damask Bedchamber. If the pieces listed in the two inventories are the same pieces, it is interesting to note that they moved from the relative obscurity of the Nursey to what was clearly an important interior. The second half of the 18th century was a time when old family furnishings came to be highly valued again.

Purchased by the Museum from Sotheby's, New Bond Street, London, 20 November 1964, lot 147, for £400. (Registered File 64/3176).

The table required considerable conservation after its acqusition by the Museum.
Historical context
Cabinets-on-stands were often made with an accompanying table, on which the precious objects contained in the cabinet might be displayed.
Summary
This table has long been paired with a cabinet-on-stand that is also in the V&A collections (W.8-1965). They are decorated with a technique known as lacque incrusté (inlaid lacquer) that imitates Asian lacquer, reflecting Antwerp’s close trading links with East Asia.

In this technique the piece of furniture was veneered in ebony, that was then incised and filled with a composition made up with shellac and various colouring agents. In certain areas the surface might be scattered, while soft, with chips of marble or mother-of-pearl, then polished to imitate namban lacquer, which was made in Japan for the export market. The table is also veneered with plaques of turtle-shell, set against a red ground.

The two pieces came from the collection of the Earls of Craven at Combe Abbey, Warwickshire. They may have been bought in Antwerp by the 1st Earl of Craven (1606-1697). He was a close friend and supporter of Elizabeth of Bohemia (1596-1662), the sister of Charles I (1600-1649) and was with her in exile in the Southern Netherlands between 1649 and 1660. It is also possible that she gave or bequeathed the pieces to him.
Associated object
Bibliographic references
  • Kopplin, Monika. European Lacquer. Selected Works from the Museum für Lakkunst, Münster. Munich: Hirmer Verlag, 2010. ISBN 9783777489308, p. 160, fig.2
  • De Kesel, Wilfried and Dhont, Greet. 'Flemish 17th Century Lacquer Cabinets'. Oostkamp, Stichting Kunstboek bvba, 2012. 96 pp. illus. ISBN 978-90-5856-373-6, pp. 76-77.
  • Mercer, Eric. The Social History of the Decorative Arts. Furniture 700-1700. London, 1969
  • Kesel, Wilfried de. 'Laques Flamandes du XVIIe Siècle', in Estampille, No. 223, March 1989, pp. 28-39, illustrated on pp. 36-37, its companion cabinet illustrated on p. 33.
  • Simon Jervis, 'A tortoiseshell cabinet and its precursors'. V&A Bulletin No. 4, October 1968, pp. 133-143, illustrated as fig. 2
  • Wolvesperges, Thibault. Le Meuble en Belgique. 1500-1800. Brussels: Racine, 2000,p. 41
  • Wilk, Christopher, ed. Western Furniture 1350 to the Present Day. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1996. 230 pp., ill., ISBN 085667463X, pp.64-65
  • W. G. de Kesel, Vlaams Barok Meubilair in Lak, Dronge, Rectavit Publicaties, 1991, p.71, illus. 18
  • James Stuart, 'Letter from London. More Museum Conservation', in Antiques Magazine, N.Y., February 1968, vol. XCIII, no. 2, p. 190 (not illustrated)
  • GONZALEZ-PALACIOS, Alvar: Il Tempio del Gusto - Il Granducato di Toscana e gli Stati Settentrionali. (Milan, 1986), fig. 40, p.23
  • Elizabeth Miller and Hilary Young, eds., The Arts of Living. Europe 1600-1815. V&A Publishing, 2015. ISBN: 978 1 85177 807 2, illustrated p. 112.
Collection
Accession number
W.7:1 to 4-1965

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Record createdJune 24, 2009
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