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Vargueno or bargueno, mid-17th century, Spanish Baroque, walnut, escritorio with carved interior, antiquarian taquillon or filing cabinet base



Dates
1630 - 1660
Dimensions
109.00cm wide (42.91 inches wide)
145.00cm high (57.09 inches high)
42.00cm deep (16.54 inches deep)
Description / Expertise
Spanish writing desks of this period are the most distinctive pieces of Spanish furniture conceived as visual displays of incredible virtuosity. The characteristic decoration of the outer fall front with its metal pierced mounts over red velvet, locks and catches is arresting and the interior typical Spanish bold simplicity with excellent chip carving, simple ornament and beautiful metalware. Vargueno bases are almost always associated either with a modern stand or a marriage of different pieces. This taquillon has been specifically made for this vargueno with matching ornament, probably in the early-20th century, harmoniously uniting with the escritorio. This is a beautiful, atmospheric piece of cabinet furniture functioning comfortably as a writing desk with lots of storage.

In two parts. The outside edge of the vargueno box or escritorio has two decorative pierced metal mounts along the top, down the sides and two at the top edge with iron catches to secure the fall-front in place when it is not locked. The elaborate double-drop handle with Santiago shell ends is attached to the top edge and fits into a central hexagonal framed, pierced metal escutcheon. This escutcheon is surrounded by five diamond-shaped panels with pierced metal mounts, the top two have central drop handles for lowering the fall and the remaining three have central cone shaped bosses as decorative features. The four side panels have pierced metal mounts and latches to lock and release the fall. The sides are fitted with a hexagonal panels with pierced mounts and carrying handles. All of these metal panels retain their original red velvet which is typically worn due to age and use. There are three iron Santiago shells at the bottom which hide the fixings for the hinges which are fixed on the inside.

The fall opens to reveal a fitted interior with a central cupboard decorated with a circular chip carved motif around an iron escutcheon with its original working lock and hinges. Three short drawers on either side, two pairs of short drawers centered below and two small cupboards either side with original working locks and hinges. All the cupboards and drawers are mouled and faced with chip carved decoration and the drawers retain their original Santiago shell handles and iron escutcheons. The fall front retains its original hinges and cleated sides.

The taquillón or cupboard base has two pull-out bars with Santiago shell ends to support the fall when the vargueno is open. It is fitted with four drawers with the same carved decoration as the large cupboard in the interior, three fitted with original working locks, the fourth has been removed. The frame and sides of the taquillon are decorated with architecturally inspired carving similar to that on an escritorio in the Museo des Arts Decorativas Inv 2.834. The sides have carrying handles.

Total height 145cm
Escritorio width105cm, height 62cm, depth 40cm
Taquillon width 109cm, height 83cm, depth 42cm

Medium
walnut
Origin
Spain
Literature
Escritorio in the Museo des Arts Decorativas Inv 2.834, p281 El Mueble en Espania Siglos XVI-XVII

This vargueno has all the features associated with those illustrated in the standard textbooks on fine, Spanish furniture of the period which are largely from museum collections, notably the publication by the Hispanic Society of America entitled 'Spanish Interiors & Furniture' and a modern publication by Maria Alonso entitled 'El Mueble en Espana' and Feducci's ‘El Mueble Espanol’

Provenance
Private Collection
Price
gbp 18000.00 (Pound Sterling)
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