Cabinet

Object Details

Title:

Cabinet

Artist/Maker:

Case by Guillaume Benneman (French, died 1811)
Gilt-bronze mounts after models by Gilles-François Martin (French, about 1713 - 1795)
Mounts cast by Etienne-Jean Forestier (French, master 1764)
Mounts cast by Denis Bardin (French, active 1775 - 1799, master 1778)
Mounts chased by Pierre-Philippe Thomire (French, 1751 - 1843, master 1772)
Mounts gilt by Claude Galle (French, 1759 - 1815, master 1786)

Culture:

French

Place:

Paris, France (Place created)

Date:

1788; pietra dura plaque late 17th - 18th century

Medium:

Oak veneered with ebony, mahogany, and lacquer, set with pietra dura plaques; gilt bronze mounts; bleu turquin marble top

Dimensions:

91.3 x 165.4 x 64.1 cm, 224.5305 kg (35 15/16 x 65 1/8 x 25 1/4 in., 495 lb.)

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This cabinet was one of a pair delivered in 1788 for the bedroom of Louis XVI at the château of Saint-Cloud. From a memoir written in the same year giving a detailed description of both cabinets, scholars know that both were originally veneered with panels of Japanese lacquer cut from a screen. The document lists in detail not only the names of most of the artisans who worked on the cabinet, but also the cost of each part--an unusual and fascinating detail. From this document, researchers learned that the most expensive part of this piece was the elaborately chased and gilded mounts, which show symbols of the king.

At some point in the early 1800s, someone replaced the lacquer panels with pietre dure (hardstone) plaques. The companion piece, now in the Royal Palace in Madrid, has been changed too; marquetry panels showing harbor scenes replaced the original lacquer.

The mounts were cast by Étienne-Jean Forestier and Denis Bardin. They were chased by Pierre-Philippe Thomire and gilt by Claude Galle.

Related Works
Exhibitions
Art of the Royal Court (July 1 to September 21, 2008)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), July 1 to September 21, 2008