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  • Place of origin:

    London (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1867 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Gillow & Co. (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    marquetry of various woods, carved boxwood, gilt metal mounts, malachite inlay, marble, mirror glass

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

The cabinet has a marble slab, with a mirror fitted at the back, above three cupboards, the central one slight recessed with a glazed door and the two side ones with decorated doors.

The mirror has an inlaid frame, with a cresting of a cartouche surrounded by leaves and scrolls, and is flanked at the bottom by brackets formed of foliate scrolls with birds. The marble slab is shaped around the canted front corners of the two side cabinets. Below the marble an egg and dart ormolu moulding runs along the front and down the sides of the cabinet between each of the four canted corners. At these corners there is a carved bracket with an owl sitting on the head of Medusa and scrolls below. Below the egg and dart moulding a frieze of geometric inlay runs along the front between the Medusa brackets and down the sides of the cabinet. Above the two side cabinet doors this frieze is interrupted by a fluted bracket with a rectangular top, fitting between the egg and dart moulding above and a narrow ormolu laurel moulding below which also runs along the front of the cabinet between the Medusa brackets and down the sides.

The central cupboard has a glazed door and a silk lined interior with two shelves.
The two side cupboard doors are both inlaid with a female figure standing on a pedestal with cupids below, labelled ARCHITETTVRA on the left and PINTVRA on the right. The two ends of the cabinet are also inlaid with a spray of wheat and poppies in an urn surrounded by scrolls, butterflies, floral swags, snakes; hanging below the urn is a tablet above a trophy of musical instruments and an artist's palette.

Place of Origin

London (probably, made)


1867 (made)


Gillow & Co. (made)

Materials and Techniques

marquetry of various woods, carved boxwood, gilt metal mounts, malachite inlay, marble, mirror glass

Marks and inscriptions

Stamped into top of frame for glazed door of central cupboard

stamp on the lock plates for the side cupboards


Height: 256.5 cm, Depth: 49.5 cm, Width: 160 cm

Object history note

The cabinet was exhibited by Gillows at the Paris Exhibition of 1867. It was illustrated in The Art Journal, The Illustrated Catalogue of the Universal Exhibition of 1867, p. 17. A front view and detail of the decoration on the side of the cabinet was illustrated on plate CXIII of Art Industry Furniture, Upholstery, and House-Decoration by G.W. Yapp, London c. 1876. The caption read "A charming production by Messrs. Gillows, of London, a combination of the Console and Glass with the Cabinet and Etagere, formed of several kinds of ornamental woods, the principal carved ornaments being in box, while the elegant designs in the panels, illustrative of Painting and Architecture, are inlaid in various coloured woods. The whole is designed and executed with the utmost delicacy, and in part proof of this we append a sketch of the charming ornamentation, drawn on a much larger scale than the cabinet itself, which decorates the panels on the sides. The Italian style has here been adopted with great taste."

Descriptive line

marquetry and inlay of various woods, carved boxwood, gilded metal mounts and malachite ornaments, marble top and mirror; made by Gillow & Co for the Paris Exhibition of 1867

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

Jervis, Simon, Victorian and Edwardian decorative art: the Handley-Read collection, London, Royal Academy of Arts, 1972

Labels and date

Designer unknown
Made by Gillow & Co.
Marquetry of various woods, carved boxwood, gilded metal mounts and malachite ornaments
From the Handley-Read Collection

This cabinet was shown at the Paris International Exhibition of 1867 and demonstrates the superb cabinet work of which a commercial firm like Gillow was capable when making a piece of the highest design quality. The designer is not known, but the piece is in the Renaissance Revival Style so widely represented at the Paris Exhibition, especially by the Continental manufacturers. [1993]
Elaborately veneered in various woods, with carved boxwood brackets, gilt brass mounts, malachite details, etc.
This cabinet was exhibited by the celebrated firm, Gillow & Co. at the 1867 Paris Exhibition; its Renaissance eclecticism and superb quality are the quintessence of High Victorian commercial exhibition furniture. [1973]


Boxwood; Malachite; Ormolu; Marcasite; Marble; Mahogany; Glass


Veneering; Carving; Marquetry; Inlay (process)

Subjects depicted

Owl; Lion; Shells; Butterfly; Scrolls; Leaves; Satyrs; Birds; Wheat; Husks; Ribbons; Flowers; Laurel; Snake (animal)



Production Type

Limited edition


Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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