The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Corner-cupboard
  • Corner-cupboard
  • Louis (active between: c.1767) , Converted by
  • Charles Cressent (1685 - 1768), Cabinet Maker
  • France
  • c. 1767 (constructed)
    c. 1750 (date of cabinet they were converted from)
  • Oak, pinewood, amaranth, satiné, rosewood, gilt bronze, brèche d'Alep marble, steel key
  • Height: 96.2 cm
    Width: 69.5 cm
  • Stamp: 'I DUBOIS JME' Largely obliterated
    Label: 'AU PANIER FLEURY, / Rue du Fauxbourg S. Jacques, près / le Val-de-Grace / FLEURY, Maître Ebéniste; fait, / vend & raccommode toutes sortes / d'Ebénisteries, & met les Fontes en / couleur: le tout à juste prix. / A PARIS' (Printed). 'Saint hyacinte (this replaces the words du Fauxbourg S. Jaques, près le Val-de-Grace, which have been crossed out in ink); porte St Michel' (either side of A PARIS) (handwritten)
    Inscription: 'Louis R / Robert / [?] /Ebeniste / droguiste' in pencil
  • F101
  • West Gallery II
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • This corner cupboard ('encoignure') and its pair (F100) are good examples of how furniture can undergo radical transformation in its lifetime. They have been reconstructed from an earlier piece of furniture, probably a tall corner-cabinet (armoire en encoignure) made by the noted ébéniste Charles Cressent, or a close follower of Cressent's, in the middle of the 18th century. The idea of a reconstruction from a larger corner cabinet is supported by the construction of the doors on these encoignures, which have a cross-piece only at the top, suggesting that they may have been the top sections of two much taller doors, or, possibly, the two ends of one much taller door. Other large Cressent-type corner cabinets appear to have been reconstructed in this way. The differences in construction between the two Wallace encoignures suggest that F100 was reconstructed first, incorporating more of the original larger piece of furniture. As is often the case in this kind of transformation, the mounts were completed by making casts from the original piece of furniture, but original mounts and later castings appear to have been distributed at random over the two new encoignures.
    We do not know who did this work, but there are various clues. The words 'Louis R/Robert/Ebeniste/droguiste' are written inside one, and a printed label on the inside of the other (F101) shows that they were sold at one stage by Adrien Fleury (1721-75), a retailer and cabinet-maker for whom this otherwise unknown 'Louis' may have worked. A stamp on both tells us that they also went through the hands of René Dubois (1737-1798) who was a retailer of furniture from 1779 as well as a cabinet-maker. Both pieces in their current form thus date from the second half of the 18th century, and appear to have been retailed at least twice.