The regal taste for furniture fashioned from precious metals is age-old, as demonstrated in the upcoming London sales, Collections and European Taste: Property from three distinguished Swiss collections. Tutankhamun was entombed with plated chairs and tables fit for the afterlife, and the art-form arguably reached its zenith in the lavish interiors of Louis XIV's palace at Versailles. Sadly, the vast majority of pieces from the great European courts were eventually melted down in order to finance wars or replenish treasury coffers. More permanent expressions of courtly wealth came in the form of carved wooden furniture and cast bronze mounts, coated with gold leaf and highly burnished to give the impression of solid gold. The contrast of textures would have dazzled contemporary audiences, shimmering in the candlelit interiors of the 17th and 18th century, and the tradition for gilded furniture and objects lasted well into the 19th century. Click ahead to see outstanding examples across both sales.
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