• Paris, c. 1700 
  • Oak and exotic woods; tortoiseshell; bronze, pewter and brass 
  • Inv. 324B

Armoire (one of a pair)

André-Charles Boulle, attrib.

Large armoire with two doors decorated with high relief bronzes showing mythological scenes based on Ovid’s Metamorphoses, marquetry with arabesques and naturalist motifs consisting of narrow fillets in brass or pewter on a ground with a tortoiseshell veneer. The centre of the base shows the haloed head of a lion in chased and gilt bronze, symbolising Apollo.

The technique used, which is associated to the artist’s name, involved creating the motifs with superimposed layers in contrasting materials and colours. By making full use of these materials, the artist managed to produce two similar pieces where one was a sort of ‘negative’ of the other.

Boulle’s work, which epitomises the Louis XIV style, adopts an austere Baroque decoration based on lines that were borrowed from classical models. The balance, symmetry and almost imperative rigidity of the forms combine to give the piece an exceptional sense of unity.

A. Wertheimer collection. Acquired by Calouste Gulbenkian, Christie’s, London, 16 June 1920.

H. 254 cm; W. 163 cm; D. 60 cm 

Lisbon 1999

A Arte do Retrato. Quotidiano e Circunstância, exhibition catalogue. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, 1999, p. 136–7, no. 45.

Coutinho 1999

Maria Isabel Pereira Coutinho, 18th-Century French Furniture. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, 1999, p. 91–100, no. 1.

Phillips 2001

Highly Important French & Continental Furniture, auction catalogue. New York: Phillips, 2001, p. 89.

Lisbon 2001

Calouste Gulbenkian Museum. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, 2001, p. 113, cat. 87.

Updated on 08 june 2022

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