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Jewel Cabinet (Coffre de bijoux à voyage)

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Jewel Cabinet (Coffre de bijoux à voyage)

Made by: Unknown

On view in: French Drawing Room

About this object

The form of this chest-on-stand derived from Renaissance marriage coffers in which a bride kept her trousseau. By the late seventeenth century, however, these extraordinary pieces had been reduced to holding jewels and small valuables. The surface of this piece is entirely veneered with a pattern of cube marquetry stained to create a trompe l’oeil (fool the eye) effect. The whole is bound together with lavish mounts in gilt bronze

Two separate sections make up this jewel chest: a stand in the shape of a table with one drawer, raised on four cabriole legs; and a lidded chest with a drop front and slightly bombé sides. Both sections have elaborate gilt bronze mounts. A pattern of cube marquetry enclosed in serpentine frames creates a trompe l'oeil effect by means of light, dark and stained green wood veneers. The chest opens both at the top and side by dropping the front. Its interior is veneered in purplewood and its hinges are silvered. Two drawers fit in the lower section. The top corners of the chest are mounted with leaf scrolls. An asymmetrical escutcheon in the shape of a floral spray decorates the front, and the sides have scrolled handles.Hinges on the back are mounted with three elaborate scrolls. The table has a central motif on the front consisting of a mermaid and a merman, each astride a dolphin; a shell appears between them. Scrollwork of floral motifs and acanthus leaves protects each coner of the table. The sides are decorated with shells mounts, and the feet have lion claw-and-leaf sabots.

Object name:
Jewel Cabinet (Coffre de bijoux à voyage)
Made from:
Wood marquetry -- gilt bronze
Made in:
Date made:
ca. 1760
overall __40.25 IN __25.75 IN __19.75 IN || __ __ __ __ __ __ __Bottom: H. 27 inches, L. 26 inches, D. 20 1/4 inches; Top: H. 13 1/2 inches, L. 25 3/4 inches, W. 19 3/4 inches
overall __102.24 CM __65.40 CM __50.16 CM || __ __ __ __ __ __ __Bottom: H. 27 inches, L. 26 inches, D. 20 1/4 inches; Top: H. 13 1/2 inches, L. 25 3/4 inches, W. 19 3/4 inches

Detailed information for this item

Catalog number:
Signature marks:
Credit line:
Bequest of Marjorie Merriweather Post, 1973
Featured in publication:
"A Taste for Splendor: Russian Imperial and European Treasures from the Hillwood Museum","French Furniture from the Collection of Hillwood Museum & Gardens","Spectacular: Gems and Jewelry from the Merriweather Post Collection"