- ebony, ebonized wood, hardstones, brass, bronze
- 275cm. high, 192cm. wide, 59cm. deep; 9ft., 6ft. 3½in, 1ft. 11in.
the architectural break-front upper structure incorporating a clock with brass chapter ring, flanked by gilt bronze statuettes of Roman soldiers, above an arrangement of drawers and retractable compartments, the panelled sides with inlaid brass banding, the front overall elaborately inlaid with shaped pietre dure and marble plaques including lapis lazuli, bianco, rosso e giallo antico, alabaster and onyx; supported on an ebonised sphinx stand
Philippe and Marie-Louise Count and Countess of Flandres, Palace Rue de la Régence, Brussels
SAR la Grande-Duchesse Joséphine-Charlotte de Luxembourg (1927 - 2005) by bequest
This impressive cabinet is in an overall good restored condition. It has had a varnish applied to it in the past that has toned down the colours of the stones and bronzes and therefore we recommend its removal. There are shrinking cracks to both sides of the upper section and small losses to mouldings (to back right hand side; to front on the right side). It has a new back board and three of the columns have been re-attached. There are small losses and cracking to ebony veneers and one loss to veneer of central column. Three brass inlaid stringing have lifted need to be re-attached. The crowns of the sphinxes have repaired breaks and one of them lost its onyx stone.
The fitted clock with a late 19th Century French movement by Marti and striking on a coiled gong. The present movement is complete with the exception of the pendulum but has been very crudely fitted to the older dial and is very dirty and not capable of working as currently set up. The clock feature of this cabinet should be seen as decorative only in its present configuration. The hands have also been replaced and do not fit the dial properly.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
This cabinet evokes the celebrated production of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure founded in Florence in 1588 by the Grand Duke Ferdinand I de’ Medici. It became renowned for the distinctive use of various hardstones and semi-precious stones such as lapis lazuli, agate, chalcedony, malachite, etc, usually inset in ebony structures, creating stunning contrasts.
century cabinets of architectural design and with a dazzling array of pietre dure, existing in the Grand ducal workshops in the 19th
century, were the inspiration for a number of revival pieces produced both in the Opificio, but also in other Florentine workshops by makers such as Pasquale Leoncini and Andrea Picchi.
The present lot, with its impressive scale and design, fits in the context of that production, being sold in Florence to an increasing flow of wealthy tourists, visiting the recently unified Italy. Nevertheless, pietra dura cabinets maintained their status as great art trophies and kept attracting the grand European families as they did in the 17th and 18th century.