Thursday, 21 July 2016

"Versailles, Versailles!"

I watched some of the BBC' s  Versailles last night, mainly to check out the furniture (no euphemism there), and I was distracted by imagining how Sid James and better still, Kenneth Williams, would have livened up the stilted dialogue.  As for the set furnishings, I  saw the Palace's beautiful painted panelling and some period cabinets, but nothing as eye-catching as this one I saw at the V&A Museum recently.

Ivory cabinet and stand, 1661-65    Pierre Gole   © V&A Museum

This exquisite display cabinet was made by Pierre Gole, cabinet maker to Louis XIV, for Philippe, duc d'Orleans and his English wife, Henriette-Anne (Charles II's favourite sister, Minette).

Unusually, it is all veneered in ivory with a delicate inlaid floral pattern.  Gole has used many materials to achieve the colours, including several exotic woods, ebony, horn, bone (stained green for the leaves)  and tortoise shell, along with brass mounts.  More tiny drawers are hidden behind the central door panel.  
The amazing craftsmanship of this piece means that it would never be boring.

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