A rare, mid-17th century, Continental, ebonised and bone marquetry, table cabinet

September 18, 2019 2:37 pm Published by

The rectangular top with a moulded edge. Each door containing a central, shaped plaque, framed by four, large rectangular plaques and four, small, square plaques in each corner, all within a geometric pattern. Each plaque profusely embellished with arabesque inlaid ornament containing leaves, scrolls and heart motifs. The doors with repairs and replacements to the areas where the lock has been moved, and a replaced, facing moulding. The insides of the doors with geometric inlay. The hinges and lock original. The interior with a central door with a moulded and arcaded panel enclosing an inlaid plaque. The hinges and lock original. Revealing an interior with a sliding, parquetry compartment inlaid with walnut and containing four secret drawers with original, gilded handles. The fourteen, interior drawers inlaid with arabesque inlaid ornament and faced with moulded edges with minor repairs. The drawers lined in walnut. The sides and back with a repeat of the simple geometric inlay. The carrying handles replaced. . The bone etched with flowerheads in black ink throughout. The ebony-veneered stand modern. Italian, second quarter of the 17th century. Provenance : Private Collection.

This striking cabinet illustrates the finesse and fluidity of arabesque, inlaid work at its peak. The central cupboard executed as a tabernacle with an architectural front was most common at the time, whatever the size of cabinet. The secret drawers and compartments are characteristically a Baroque feature playing on theatrical illusionism. These inner recesses also served a useful purpose in the illicit transport of goods such as diamonds, lace, silver, and tulips.

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This post was written by joecollinson