late 16th/early 17th century
of architectural form centred by a triangular pediment surmounted by gilt-metal figures depicting various saints above a niche enclosing two drawers flanked by two marble columns and two further niches concealing two drawers flanked by a faux marbre column, the whole mounted with various marbles, lapis lazuli and mother-of-pearl and decorated in gilt on an ebonised ground on later flattened bun feet
Hans Huth, Lacquer of the West, The History of the Craft and Industry 1550-1950, Chicago, 1971, plates 17 & 19.
A. G. Palacios, I Mobili Italiani, Il patrimonio artistico del Quirinale, Milan, 1996, pp. 42-43, fig.1, for a related cabinet reproduced here in fig.1.
C. Santini, Mille Mobili Veneti, L'arredo domestico in Veneto dal sec. XV al sec XIX, Venezia, Volume III, Modena, MMII, p.25, fig.18, for another cabinet (Collection Meli Lupi di Soragna, Parma).
This type of cabinet mounted with marble plaques is typical of Venetian Renaissance decorative art with the black and gilt lacquer imitating Turkish bookbindings, weapons, boxes and other trinkets found in Venice at that time. The decoration also made use of repeated patterns which is common feature in Islamic Art. The use of marble inlay is reminiscent of the employment of marble in the facades of 15th century churches attributed to Pietro Lombardi, according to Huth, op. cit., p. 7.
Several examples of these type of cabinets are in major collections and illustrated by Huth, op. cit., such as the the one in the Museum für Angewandte Kunst in Vienna, plates 17 & 18, reproduced here in fig. 2, and one in Palazzo Doria Pamphilij, Rome, pl. 19. There are also examples in Castello Sforzesco, Milan and the Wallace Collection, London.
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