Antwerp cabinet – 17th century

Red tortoiseshell veneer, gilded tortoiseshell veneer, bone and mother-of-pearl inlays, gold fillets, rosewood veneer and mercury mirrors.
Later stand.
Antwerp, 17th century.

H. 140 - L. 72 - D.40 cm.

Charming cabinet with rich inlay decoration. The central pediment is supported by two tortoiseshell columns and tops an imbrication of drawers forming the decor. Framed by eight drawers, it depicts a French garden in perspective, with a boxwood lace parterre and a kiosk in the background. The mirror-backed capital atop the cabinet completes the pagoda-like structure.
The blackened wood support table with spiral columns is from a later period (19th century).

During the 17th century, Flanders and its ports became key transit points for the European market. A taste for luxury developed, and many exotic products were traded.
Created by the first cabinetmakers in Holland, the cabinet became an object of prestige and a medium for many forms of artistic expression. From 1625 onwards, Antwerp cabinetmakers became more innovative and excelled in the execution of these cabinets. This cabinet is an expression of the taste that developed during the 17th century in Flanders, blending exotic influences with the use of many commercially available materials such as tortoiseshell, mother-of-pearl and rosewood. Antwerp cabinets were intended for the local market of bourgeois, wealthy merchants and aristocrats, as well as for the export market. They were renowned for their innovative iconography and sense of mise en scène.

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