A South German sycamore and fruitwood marquetry table-cabinet, probably Augsburg late 16th Century
- Sycamore, fruitwood, pine
- cabinet 56.5cm. high, 72.5cm. wide, 32.5cm. deep; 1ft. 10½in., 2ft. 4½in., 1ft. ¾in.
Newbattle Abbey, Midlothian, Inventory, 1901, p.55, in the Drawing Room, ‘Antique Inlaid cabinet with landscapes & architectural subjects, folding front, & mahogany stand, on 4 shaped supports';
Newbattle Abbey, Midlothian, Inventory, 1930, p. 8, in the Drawing Room; ‘A late 17th century Italian satinwood cabinet inlaid the front to represent a triumphal arch & Roman ruins, the sides with cities & columns & the top with Romulus & Remus etc 30" x 24" on walnut stand with cabriole legs'
"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."
L. Möller, Der Wrangelschrank und die verwandten süddeutschen Intarsienmöbel des 16. Jahrhunderts, Berlin, 1956.
D. Alfter, Die Geschichte des Augsburger Kabinettschranks, Augsburg, 1986.
R. Baarsen, 17th-century cabinets, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, 2000.
The present piece is ascribable to a group of intarsia cabinets produced in Augsburg from the first half of the 16th century. Originally intended to serve as portable writing desks, they were usually fitted with a fall-front which was sometimes substituted for a pair of doors, indicative of a change in use which effectively turned them into table cabinets.
The marquetry on these panels often depicts architectural ruins combined with strapwork, a scheme that is based on works such as Lorenz Stöer’s Geometria et perspectiva (Augsburg, 1567), or the etchings by the influential Virgil Solis as found in Buchlin von den alten Gebewen (c. 1555), which reinterpreted previous designs.
The present cabinet's marquetry is unusual in its depiction of actual rather than fantastical ruins, including the impressive reproduction of the Colosseum as it must have appeared to 16th century tourists. As with more abstract representations, these views would also be taken from prints circulating in Europe at the time. For example, the depiction of the Colosseum reproduces a popular print from the series Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae (1575) by the French engraver Antonio Lafréri (1512-1577). A copy of the print can be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, inv. no. 41.72(1.59).