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A mid 17th c. Antwerp tortoiseshell cabinet
A mid 17th c. Antwerp tortoiseshell cabinet - Furniture Style Louis XIV A mid 17th c. Antwerp tortoiseshell cabinet - A mid 17th c. Antwerp tortoiseshell cabinet - Louis XIV Antiquités - A mid 17th c. Antwerp tortoiseshell cabinet
Ref : 79028
Price on Request
Period :
17th century
Provenance :
Antwerp, Flanders
Medium :
Tortoiseshell
Dimensions :
l. 37.8 inch X H. 62.2 inch X P. 17.32 inch
Furniture  - A mid 17th c. Antwerp tortoiseshell cabinet 17th century - A mid 17th c. Antwerp tortoiseshell cabinet Louis XIV - A mid 17th c. Antwerp tortoiseshell cabinet
Baptiste & Lenté

16th to 19th century furniture and works of art


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A mid 17th c. Antwerp tortoiseshell cabinet

This rare cabinet is entirely inlaid with plates of tortoiseshell tinted red so that the wood structure is completely hidden behind.
It opens with seven small and one large drawers and a central door. Each drawer is inlaid with tortoiseshell underlined with inlaid ivory fillets and framed with mouldings realised in tortoiseshell. The central door receives on its reverse a mirror in a frame in turtle veneer, and reveals a theater made up of alternating mirrors between small columns in tortoiseshell and two small drawers above allowing additional storage. The floor is inlaid with tortoiseshell and ivory arranged to form a geometric decoration.
The top and sides are in tortoiseshell veneered with ivory fillets.
The escutcheons discreetly adorn the drawers so as not to encroach on the tortoiseshell.
The original hinges and door lock.
Antwerp, mid-17th century

Dimensions with base: h. 158 cm, l. 96 cm, p. 44 cm

The extreme refinement of our cabinet is undoubtedly due to its first owner who had ordered its manufacture only with expensive materials. The tortoise shell in 17th century arrived in Antwerp aboard ships coming from South-East Asia and had met a great success with specialized cabinetmakers who used it in veneer to decorate the mirrors, the boxes and the cabinets .
The cost being exorbitant, customers could only afford to decorate the cabinet drawers with cut plates, leaving the sides and the top (less visible in an interior) in wood or wood veneer to reduce the cost of the work. .
In the case of our cabinet, the owner wanted to achieve supreme luxury and afford a cabinet entirely covered with tortoiseshell (a rare case for the top and sides).
Another sign of high quality of this cabinet are the structure of the drawers usually in oak on this kind of cabinet, here we are in the presence of the interiors of drawers in solid rosewood, imported exotic wood and very expensive in 17th century
The use of rare and expensive materials on our cabinet demonstrates the richness and the taste of its first owner who did not hesitate to acquire for his residence a work of superior quality in order to distinguish himself from his entourage.

The commercial and port activity of the city of Antwerp was at the origin of many fortunes, it was essential for rich merchants to have an interior that went hand in hand with their social status, the most refined works were sought after in order to contribute to the splendor of this city and its inhabitants in full economic and cultural effervescence.

Small / medium-sized cabinets were often originally designed without base, and most often rested on tables / consoles covered with carpet.
The base for our cabinet was manufactured in the 19th century to be able to present it. It is made of a belt fitted with drawers in tortoiseshell veneer placed on a set of 8 columns in gilded and twisted wood ending in the barrel in blackened wood. All brought together by a ebonised wooden shelf and placed on ball feet.

To be compared with the cabinet exhibited at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, around 1650, Antwerp.

Baptiste & Lenté

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