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with ebony reserve panels decorated with foliate scrolls and floral sprays, birds and urns of flowers, the recessed upper part with a lacquered brass balustrade and fitted with nine drawers about a central enclosed compartment, the lower part with a specimen marble top and enclosed by two oval panelled doors flanked by arched panels to either side, on bun feet, late 17th century and re-contructed in the early 19th century

Mere Hall, Christie's, 23rd May 1994, Lot 58
Probably supplied to Thomas Brooke
Re-constructed by Peter Brooke (d.1840), on his return from the Grand Tour in 1842

The heart of this antiquarian cabinet is provided by a late 17th century walnut cabinet-on-stand, that is likely to have formed part of the state apartment furnishings of Thomas Brooke's house at Mere. This cabinet, embellished with flower-inlaid ebony panels in the French Louis XIV manner, would originally have resembled that acquired for Ham House, Richmond about 1680 and illustrated by P Thornton 'The Furnishing and Decoration of Ham House', Furniture History Society Journal, Leeds, 1980, fig.101. In the 19th century many such pieces were adapted when they were moved from bedroom apartments for display in living rooms or galleries. It is likely that this transformation, combined with the application of a flowered-ribbon ormolu band below the marble-mosaic shelf, was carried out by Messrs. Gillows for Peter Brooke (d.1840) in the late 1830's, who collected specimen marbles while in Italy and whose 'antiquarian' interests resulted in the romatic 'Elizabethan' New Hall at Mere.

In the 1840 inventory it was listed on the Principal Landing as: 'A Beautiful inlaid cabinet, marble top and nest of drawers over ditto, with Pannels of marble painted & ebony'.

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