Monday, June 23, 2014

Her Majesty's Furniture: The Putti Cabinet, 1855

Jackson and Graham, 1855
This and all related images from:
The Victoria & Albert Museum

This handsome cabinet was not made for domestic use, but rather as a sample of the ingenuity and talents of the craftsmen and designers of the London furnishing firm of Jackson and Graham. Made in the Eighteenth Century style, the cabinet was presented at the Paris International Exhibition of 1855 where it was heralded for its fineness.

The 1855 catalog notes of the cabinet that “the interior is finished with as much care as the exterior, being of satin-wood inlaid with tulip-wood and the fronts of the drawers inlaid with ivory and panelled, the panels being fitted with finely-chased and gilded metal-work.”  

The stars of the show are the three porcelain mounts depicting putti representing the arts.  These panels are mounted in gilt moldings which echo the shape of the central mirror.

The piece was designed by Alexandre Prignot (born 1822) who had been the chief designer for Jackson and Graham from 1849 to 1855. This piece was one of his final triumphs. The ceramics were supplied by Minton & Co. while Elkington & Co, offered the electroplated mounts. Cope and Collinson provided the casters.

The marquetry, giltwood, and inlays of marble and porcelain drew much positive attention and praise at the 1855 exhibition as did the mirror which surmounted the cabinet. 

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