Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Object of the Day, Museum Edition: A Japanned Cabinet on a Stand, 1690-1700

Japanned Cabinet on a Silvered Softwood Stand with applied Lime Decoration
This and all related images from:
The Victoria & Albert Museum

They way in which a person furnishes his home has always been a way to show friends and neighbors an individual’s personal taste and social status. Around 1660, one of the most prestigious pieces of furniture that a household could possess was a highly decorative cabinet on a stand.   These cabinets, valuable in their own right, also served as a means of displaying rare and beautiful objects.   

Here, we see such a cabinet.  This example has been “japanned”  a technique which imitated the expensive lacquer made in East Asia. This cabinet belonged to Sir Richard Hill (1655-1727), who became Deputy Paymaster to William III's forces in Flanders.  It is made of softwood, with carved elements pieced out in lime.   It was made in England between 1690-1700, built on an oak carcass, with softwood dust-boards and oak drawer linings.  The stand and cresting of carved and silvered softwood mirrors the French style which was fashionable of the time.  

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