A South German baroque pewter, brass and tortoiseshell Boulle marquetry cabinet on stand, Munich or Vienna, circa 1710
- Tortoiseshell, brass, pine, oak, pewter
By repute, Luigi Moroni, Conte di Loreto;
Thence by descent to the current owner.
R. Eikelmann (ed.), Prunkmöbel am Müncher Hof, Munich, 2011;
G. Hojer, H. Ottomeyer (eds.), Die Möbel der Residenz München, Munich, 1996;
H. Kreisel, Die Kunst des deutschen Möbels, vol. II, Munich, 1973;
M. Riccardi-Cubitt, The Art of the Cabinet, London, 1992.
Master cabinet-makers such as Ferdinand Plitzner, Johann Puchwiser, the Master CSB, Johann Heinrich Purckhart, Valentin Zindtner, and Hendrik van Soest - some of whom had studied in Paris - all excelled in this art, but did not restrict themselves to pure imitation; rather, they developed the technique that had been mastered by André-Charles Boulle (1642-1732), adapting it to a German taste distinguished by a marked preference for tortoiseshell with red and blue underlays, the contrast between pewter and brass, and elaborate, late-Baroque architectonic designs.
If the French favoured clock cases, commodes and armoires, the Germans excelled in making monumental Schreibschränke, or bureaux-cabinets, perhaps the greatest examples of which are the pair in première- and contre-partie by Puchwiser, circa 1704-1715, in the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Munich, formerly at Schloss Schleißheim in the collection of the Royal House of Wittelsbach (inv. nos. R 3891 and R 3890). The decorative repertoire on these pieces, is often and sometimes faithfully, based upon engravings by or after Jean Bérain (1640-1711), sometimes mediated by the fantasy of German ornemanistes such as Paul Decker (1677-1713).
While the overall outline can be compared to the Munich pair, the marquetry on the present bureau - lacking any figurative element - relates it to a Schreibstisch in première partie in the Hofburg, Wien (ill. in R. Eikelmann, op. cit., p. 21), as well as to a pair of Schreibkommoden, or bureaux Mazarin, also by Puchwiser, in the Residenz Munich (inv. nos. BNM R 3363 and 3364, ill. in G. Hojer, H. Ottomeyer, op. cit., pp. 278-79, cat. 79). A nearly identical example of cabinet on stand with domed top and with faux-drawer marquetry on its central door, is illustrated in M. Riccardi-Cubitt, op. cit., 106, ill. 56 (fig. 1), and was offered Sotheby's London, Important Continental Furniture, Tapestries and Clocks, 20-27 May 1988, lot 178.