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a flemish oak and ebonised buffet


a flemish oak and ebonised buffet
17th Century incorporating later elements, the construction 19th Century
The rectangular moulded cornice carved with trefoil motifs above a panelled border carved with paterae and lozenges, the frieze carved with Bacchic figures within scrolling foliage, flanked and divided by masks, above two doors centred by carved panels depicting Wisdom and Charity, and framed by demi-patera borders, enclosing a plain interior, the frieze supported by detatched figures, carved with masks and fruiting foliate garlands, above a shaped border carved with Bacchic youth within scrolling foliage, flanked and divided by winged cherub's heads, the lower section with two doors carved with conforming panels depicting Prudence, Justice, Temperance and Fortitude, framed by conforming ebonised and carved borders, flanked by female allegorical figures in classical dress with garlanded fruiting capitals and foliate bases, above a base drawer with foliate-carved panels, flanked and divided by lion's masks, on later ebonised bun feet, with two paper labels to the reverse, each inscribed J.C. Veder, restorations
215cm. high x 158cm. wide x 70cm. deep

Lot Essay

This sculptural buffet relates to two designs by Paul Vredeman de Vries (1567-after 1630), illustrated in his series of designs for furniture, entitled 'Verscheyden Schrynwerk', which was published in Amsterdam in 1630. This series included patterns for 'Portalen, Kleerkassen, Buffetten, Ledikanten, Tafels, Kisten, Stoelen, Bancken, Schabellen, Hantoex-rollen, en veel andre Soorten van wercken', and demonstrated a further evolution of the designs of his father, Hans Vredeman de Vries (1527-1604), which were published in Antwerp around 1583-1588. (S. Jervis, Printed Furniture Designs before 1650, Leeds, 1974, p.44 and nrs. 345 and 347)

This type of buffet relates to the Dutch beeldenkast, named after the caryatids or beelden, which divide the doors. This type of cupboard was probably produced throughout the Northern Netherlands and was often given as a wedding-present. The richly carved caryatids of the present buffet are very similar to those on the celebrated beeldenkast, dated 1622, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, which was previously in the collection of William Randolph Hearst. (R. Baarsen in Exhibition Catalogue, Dawn of the Golden Age, Northern Netherlandish Art 1580-1620, Amsterdam (Rijkmuseum) 1993-'94, p.273 and p.415)
A related buffet, with a display of a pewter salver and a candlestick on the lower platform, and of classical busts on the top, is depicted in a picture of a luxurious interior by Bartholomeus van Bassen and Esaias van de Velde, entitled 'Company of an interior', which is in the collection of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
Another related buffet, now also with a recessed cupboard in the superstructure, and with a similar display of pewter on the lower platform, is represented in 'Interior with People Making Music and Playing Tric-Trac' painted by Paul Vredeman de Vries and David Vingboons around 1610. (W.T. Kloek in Exhibition Catalogue, Dawn of the Golden Age, Northern Netherlandish Art 1580-1620, Amsterdam (Rijksmuseum) 1993-'94, p.44 and p.242)
See illustration

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