Luxury Design, Past & Present
A rare and spectacular French Regence/Louis XV period painted corner cabinet/buffet a deux corps circa 1740. Please take a moment to examine this amazing piece of French cabinet making skill that has a shape we have never had the pleasure of offering before. This is an original corner cabinet with an upper section that stands atop the lower section topped with a crown that follows the corner shape. The base of the cabinet features a pair of square doors each having a raised centre section with four evenly spaced convex and concave moulded bands connected to form a continuous line. Embraced within the moulding is a four pointed star with each point ending in a raised half sphere. Above each of the doors is a drawer of rectangular shape with a raised horizontal lozenge adorned with four sets of triple grooves with the iron handles and lock plate attached directly to the front. Please note that in the centre between the doors there is also a vertical set of grooved detail to match the drawer fronts and that it is carved in a curved shape. The entire cabinet stands on carved feet in a cabriole form with a symmetrical apron between the front flour legs and the back two legs. In addition the sides of both the upper and lower sections are paneled as well. The upper cabinet also contains two doors that possess the same actual and visual weight as the lower doors because they have the same deeply carved moulded edges. The upper doors are divided into an upper and lower section with the upper section filled with a handsome carved depiction of grain sheaves clasped in the centre with a ribbon. The deep etching and lifelike detail immediately capture the eye as the motif is organic in shape and contrasts beautifully with the geometric form of the surrounding moulding. Again, as seen in the base, the centre area between the cabinet doors is also curved in a deep concave shape and is topped with a circular medallion placed directly above. This medallion is flanked with half round medallions before a related carved detail extends outward to the right and left above the cabinet doors in an echo of the door detail. Because the top of the upper cabinet doors have a pronounced curve the carvings are able to expand in size as they move away from the centre toward the sides. The lower sections of the upper doors are fitted with chicken wire and backed with a platinum coloured silk to conceal the contents stored behind the doors on the shelves inside. Each door opens to reveal a pair of adjustable shelves on both the left and the right sides of the cabinet. This technique was employed to keep the interior free of dust and debris back when open fires were burning in the same room where this cabinet was placed. The reason this is a combination of the Regence and Louis XV periods lies in the extreme balance and symmetry of the base where every single detail is matched on the left and right while the upper section shows the beginning of the dramatic curves developed during the reign of Louis XV. These are identified by the shallow curve of the top of the cabinet doors as well as the curved arch that divides each door into two sections. Also the depth of the carving over the entire piece places this cabinet within the first half of the eighteenth century. Later in the seventeen hundreds carving became shallower and more inlay was used for decoration. Of course the most unusual aspect of this cabinet is the unique corner shape. Only someone who had a specific need in their home for a piece with this special configuration would have commissioned its creation. The charm of the painted surface is a definite enhancement to its overall appearance and follows the patterns of usage accumulated by the passage of time and use. The entire piece disassembles into an upper and lower section with a removable crown and the drawers and four doors also are able to be separated from the cabinet for ease of movement into and out of any room. This extraordinary cabinet will be as enchanting placed within a modern home as it was when originally built at the beginning of the eighteenth century because of its unusual configuration and continued usefulness.