A South German Table Cabinet

Probably Augsburg late 16th century

Width 22 ½” (57 cm) Depth 14” (25.5 cm) Height 18 ¾” (47.5 cm)

 The top with two panels of selected burr alder, each enclosed with multiple geometric bands and a wide scrolling foliate border. The whole with a further geometric band contained within a wide sycamore border. The sides and front doors with panels enclosing stylised leafy flowering shrubs issuing from twin handled vases, possibly representing the ‘tree of life’. Each panel enclosed with geometric and foliate bands below a reeded cornice and leading to a similar plinth. The two doors open to reveal a central door surrounded by ten drawers. The central door has a marquetry panel depicting Orpheus playing the lyre surrounded by animals, with a huntsman on the reverse. The ten drawers depict exotic animals in fantastical landscapes with medieval buildings in the backgrounds. The inside of the doors each depicting a soldier among foliage with further animals. The theatre interior which contains two small drawers slides out to reveal six well concealed secret drawers.

The creator of this captivating cabinet would never have seen in real life many of the exotic animals depicted and almost certainly relied upon contemporary engravings and his imagination to create these fantastical images.


 A hand written label attached to the interior states ‘German early 17thc from Ionides sale. Bought by John McAndrew at Christies’

 Christies 18th June 1936 Mrs Evelyn Ionides of Hove

Collections: Archive