Sunday, April 6, 2014

Her Majesty’s Furniture: A French Jewel-Cabinet, 1787

The Royal Collection

Designed by Jean-Henry Riesener, in 1787 for the French Royal Family, this exquisite jewel cabinet was among the many opulent pieces of furniture seized during the French Revolution. Subsequently, it was put on display in a French Museum, but later sold off due to the increasing debt of the French government at the time. Enter Britain’s King George IV with his fascination for French design. The cabinet was quickly purchased (along with a number of other important French items) and added to The Royal Collection.

This cabinet was designed to reflect its use. Sensitively sculpted three-dimensional figures and fittings of ormolu were carefully added to this highly shined walnut piece to give the overall look of it a sense of being a jewel in and of itself. Today, this is considered one of the finest examples of French furniture-making of the period. We should be thankful to King George IV for rescuing it from an uncertain future so that it can proudly represent the tastes of two empires.

Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
All Images Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

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