the upper stepped section with a pierced gallery and turned finials above a glazed door with flanking cupboard doors opening to shelves, the lower section with a roll-top opening to an interior fitted with an arrangement of drawers and pigeon holes centered by a cupboard door with further hidden drawers and compartments, the incurved center-section with three drawers flanked by fluted columns and banks of three drawers, upon square tapered legs; the whole outlined in brass.
The backboard of the lower section with an Hermitage Museum paper label, inscribed number 416.
Two similar pieces of furniture are illustrated, Antoine Chenevière, Russian Furniture, The Golden Age 1780-1840, New York, 1988, p. 124-125, pls. 110, 111. The former is fitted with a pair of glazed cupboard doors on the upper part of identical design to those on the offered lot; the latter, attributed to Christian Mayer's workshop, is of very similar overall conception and design. The concave center section of the lower part of this cabinet is a feature which Mayer frequently employed, notably on the bonheur du jour illustrated, Chenevière, op. cit. pl. 76.
Although he was undoubtedly influenced by the work of David Roentgen, Christian Mayer was well established in St. Petersburg before Roentgen made his first visit there. Mayer was unquestionably regarded as one of St. Petersburg's finest cabinet-makers, he even gave carpentry lesson to members of the Imperial family (Chenevière, op. cit. p. 83). Chenevière cites an inventory compiled in 1811 which lists no fewer than 149 pieces attributed to Christian Meyer, some of which had been delivered as early as 1787. These pieces included cabinets which were made for specific purposes, such as the display of precious minerals. In 1793 he delivered sixty-four large bookcases for the library at the Hermitage, and thirty-five more in 1795 (Chenvière, ibid. p. 85)
The well figured veneers used on this cabinet, as well as the refined craftsmanship of the interior, would suggest that it too may be attributed to Christian Mayer's St. Petersburg workshop. The ormolu urn-shaped finials, the galleries and inlay are also very consistent with the standards set in Mayer's workshop.
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