This splendid cabinet, profusely decorated with marquetry of flowers and birds executed in a rich choice of materials, has been illustrated in various handbooks as a quintessential example of the finest Parisian ébénisterie from the glorious first decades of the reign of Louis XIV. Centred by an opulent vase of flowers posed within an aedicula shaped as a triumphal arch, it exudes the pride and confidence characteristic of that vibrant period in the history of the French decorative arts. The vase stands on a table supported by legs shaped as dolphins, emblematic of the Dauphin, the eldest son of the king; they recur on several of the drawers. To underline its regal presence, the cabinet is supported by four gilded caryatid figures, symbolic of the Seasons.
BETWEEN GOLE AND BOULLE
The foremost ébéniste of the early years of Louis XIV's reign was the Dutch-born Pierre Gole (c. 1620-1685) who may have been the first to decorate furniture with floral marquetry, probably in the early 1650s. In a recent survey of his work, a number of floral marquetry cabinets that are quite similar to the present lot are attributed to this maker (Th.H. Lunsingh Scheurleer, Pierre Gole ébéniste de Louis XIV, Dijon 2005).