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Antique Penwork Table Cabinet Circa 1820

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Description: http://hygra.com/uk/n11/633JB 

Ref: 633JB: Penwork table cabinet  with curved Regency shape. The penwork depicts exquisite chinoiserie  scenes of figures in the fantastical gardens of Cathay.  The compartmentalized interior was fitted for jewelry in the 19th Century.  The hinged doors open to  four drawers with turned bone handles. The upper part was originally fitted for sewing. The divisions retain their original pink lining paper. The domed top and  flared skirted base are unusual. A superb piece of its period.

Origin: ;  Circa: 1820 ; Materials:  maple on a pine carcass.

Size: 25.5 cm wide by 19 cm by 33.3 cm:  10 inches wide by 7.5  inches by 13  inches high.

Condition: good overall; working lock (Victorian replacement) and key; one of the rear feet is a repair. The penwork retains its original varnish. see images

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Penwork table cabinet  with curved Regency shape. The penwork depicts exquisite chinoiserie  scenes of figures in the fantastical gardens of Cathay.  The compartmentalized interior was fitted for jewelry in the 19th Century.  The hinged doors open to  four drawers with turned bone handles. The upper part was originally fitted for sewing. The divisions retain their original pink lining paper. The domed top and  flared skirted base are unusual. Enlarge Picture

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The rounded top and  aproned  base give interest to the shape. 

Penwork cabinets were decorated both on the outside doors and on the inside drawers. Some, as here, were even decorated on the flip side of the doors. The decoration was of chinoiserie. These cabinets were often made to contain sewing tools in the top section, which opened from the top, like a box. The other drawers were usually empty.

In this cabinet some of the drawers were lined with velvet.

 

 

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The wealth of aesthetic and cultural influences which burst onto European applied arts from the second half of the 18th to the middle of the 19th century was dazzling. The Far East, the classical world of Europe and the Middle East, the beauties of the flora and fauna of the world, the strange persons who inhabited lands hitherto unknown, invaded the consciousness and the intellect of a society eager to inquire, learn, and experiment. Such a cornucopia of new ideas opened up infinite possibilities of diversification in the arts. It was the time of the romantic poets, of great creative novelists, of travelers, merchants, botanists, and adventurers.

See:  Antique Boxes, Tea Caddies, and Society, 1700--1880
Antigone Clarke & Joseph O'Kelly,
ISBN: 0764316885 is now available.

 

 

 There is some restoration to one of the feet. 

When fully opened the cabinet has a dramatic presence.

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Chinese life and art invaded the artistic consciousness of Europe and found expression in two ways: decoration and shape. Decoration, which appears on boxes, is now generally called chinoiserie, although during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries it was confusedly termed Chinawork, Japanning or India work. Anywhere east of Constantinople was so alien at the time, that cultures and countries remained indistinguishable in the popular mind. The only available sources of information were enhanced travelers' tales, geographically inaccurate maps and fantastical sketches.

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The top section is compartmentalized. The pink lining paper is original. The top section of table cabinets is often used for sewing. At this date boxes tend to be much less fitted than later.

 

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 There is a leather document wallet in the lid.

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 The drawers are of dovetail construction

 

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This drawer has been lined with velvet making it suitable for jewelry.  This happened sometime later in the 19th Cent. The original pink paper is visible above.

 

 The bottom drawer retains its original pink lining paper.

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 One of the rear feet has been restored. The new wood is clearly visible.

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All text and images and linked images are 1999-2011 Antigone Clarke and Joseph O'Kelly. If you require any further information on permitted use, or a licence to republish any material, email us at copyright@hygra.com