• Important Early European Furni auction at Christies

    Sale 7764

    Important Early European Furniture, Sculpture & Tapestries

    5 November 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 259

    A SOUTH GERMAN GILT-METAL-MOUNTED ASH, SYCAMORE AND FRUITWOOD MARQUETRY TABLE CABINET

    SECOND HALF 16TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    A SOUTH GERMAN GILT-METAL-MOUNTED ASH, SYCAMORE AND FRUITWOOD MARQUETRY TABLE CABINET
    SECOND HALF 16TH CENTURY
    Decorated all over with musical trophies, surreal landscapes, ruins, grotesque figures and exotic animals, astronomical instruments, foliate scrolls and strapwork cartouches, the rectangular top above a pair of doors concealing an elaborately decorated interior fitted with 21 ash-lined drawers and slides and three compartments with hinged doors, two of these removable and further fitted, one with an adjustable writing slide, and further hidden compartments, each decorated accordingly with elaborate marquetry to all sides and mounted with engraved and parcel-gilt locks and hinges, the sides with carrying handles, one giltwood lion-carved feet, numbered in red paint '298' and '29'
    27½ in. (69.5 cm.) high; 40¾in. (103.5 cm.) wide; 17½ in. (44.5cm.) deep [without feet]
    31½ in. (80 cm.) high [with feet]


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    Decorated with breathtaking pictorial marquetry to top, front, back and sides as well as virtually all interior surfaces, this table cabinet is almost certainly one of the finest examples of such precious cabinets produced in Augsburg at the end of the 16th century.

    From the middle of the 16th century, Augsburg had witnessed an extraordinary ascendency as a centre of furniture production for the international market, a new phenomenon at the time. In particular, the development of marquetry contributed to this prominent position, favoured by the ready availability of a large variety of indigenous woods and the invention of improved types of saws and other equipment. Augsburg marquetry of the time almost invariably depicts ruins, as on the present cabinet as well as the celebrated 'Wrangelschrank' in the Landesmuseum Münster, which is dated to 1566 and although slightly more architectural in the layout of its interior is certainly closely related in its marquetry to the present cabinet. Already in 1567, a collection of prints by Lorenz Stöer with perspective views of ruins combined with strapwork was published in this city, particularly influential was his 'den Schreiner in eingelegter Arbeit dienstlich'.

    16th century marquetry of this kind remained highly popular throughout later ages and was frequently adapted to new uses. Thus, in Holland one such cabinet was encased as early as the second half of the 17th century in a fashionable new piece of furniture (R. Baarsen, 17th-century cabinets, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam 2000, pp. 3-9, figs. 5-11) and panels taken from another such piece were re-employed on a chest of drawers probably made in Turin in the middle of the 18th century, now at Waddesdon Manor (see G. de Bellaigue, The James A. de Rothschild collection at Waddesdon Manor: Furniture, Clocks and Gilt Bronzes, Fribourg, 1974, No. 119). It is particularly exciting to find such a superb example of these late 16th century marquetry cabinets in such well-preserved original and virtually un-touched condition.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY FROM THE PALAZZO OF A MILANESE NOBLE FAMILY


    Literature

    COMPARATIVE LITERATURE:
    L. Möller, Der Wrangelschrank und die verwandten süddeutschen Intarsienmöbel des 16. Jahrhunderts, Berlin, 1956.
    D. Alfter, Die Geschichte des Augsburger Kabinettschranks, Augsburg, 1986, pp. 10-28, figs. 8-22.