• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2090

    European Furniture, Sculpture, Works Of Art, Tapestries And Carpets

    22 April 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 75

    A GERMAN IVORY-INLAID MAHOGANY AND FRUITWOOD FOLIO CABINET**

    PROBABLY BERLIN, EARLY 19TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    A GERMAN IVORY-INLAID MAHOGANY AND FRUITWOOD FOLIO CABINET**
    PROBABLY BERLIN, EARLY 19TH CENTURY
    With an urn-form finial above a triangular upper section fitted with a door opening to an architecturally fitted interior with a frieze drawer, steps that pull out to reveal a writing surface below a brickwork-inlaid building with two hinged compartments, a drawer and a pull-out inkwell niche, and further architecturally inlaid cupboard doors and compartments with a mirrored backsplash, the whole within a case with ormolu lion's mask ring handles and supported on gilt ball feet resting on a square lower section with a star-inlaid paneled frieze, the front inset with a drawer containing a hinged writing surface with a niche below and flanked with compartments and a brass inkwell, below a pair of recessed doors revealing four long drawers, the sides each paneled as doors with one side containing probably later fitted drawers and one with shelves, each corner punctuated with an engaged ring-turned column on a conforming plinth
    100½ in. (255.5 cm.) high, 36¼ in. (92 cm.) square


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    This impressive folio cabinet's form and decoration shares several features with a group of fall front secretaries made in Berlin from 1790-1820 and illustrated in A. Stiegel, Berliner Mobelkünst, Berlin, 2003 pp.332,353-55, 358-60. All are based on simplified architectural forms and have crisply cast ormolu mounts which often include lion's mask ring handles. Their interiors echo architecture in smaller form with inlay to simulate brickwork, arches with mirrored backs and windows.

    An example by an anonymous maker circa 1790/95 illustrates almost identical lion's mask ring handles on the frieze drawer while the interior has the same small foliate-cast ring handles. A secretaire at Schloss Bellvue, also circa 1790-95, has closely related lion's mask ring handles both on the exterior and interior. The interior of an 1820 example has both similar lion's mask handles as well as a stepped base below arches. Other secretaries share different features such as a related geometric-inlaid frieze and band on a fall front secretaire with a label for Friedrich Wichmann, circa 1800-05, and a related pull-out drawer with sliding writing compartment is illustrated in a secretaire cabinet circa 1785-95.

    The steps at the base of the offered lot's interior are echoed in the interior of a fall front secretaire from Berlin, circa 1815-20. A third mirrored interior with brickwork, steps and mirrored windows is inside an unusual oviform fall-front secretaire circa 1835 in Schloss Stepperg, Bayern. Both of these examples are illustrated in G. Himmelheber (ed.), Die Kunst De Deutschen Mobels, Klassizimus, Historismus Jugenstil Munich, 1973. Another related interior with cabinet doors and brickwork as well as a related lion's mask ring handle to the drawer on the lower case, is illustrated in H. Schmitz, Deutsche Mobel des Klassizimus Stuttgart, 1923, p.220.

    Special Notice

    Prospective purchasers are advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing materials from endangered species, including but not limited to coral, ivory and tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.


    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY FORMERLY FROM THE ESTATE OF HENRY LUCE III
    (LOT 75)