The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Corner-cupboard
  • Attributed to Pierre-Antoine Foullet (c. 1732) , Cabinet Maker
  • Delivered by Gilles Joubert (1689 - 1775), Cabinet Maker
  • France
  • 1773
    1800 - 1900 (grooves cut in bottoms of drawer and lion's pelt and quiver mounts probably removed at this time)
  • Oak, veneered with tulipwood and amaranth, interior veneered with satiné and amaranth, steel spring drawer catch, gilt bronze, griotte marble, steel key
  • Object size: 91 x 101 x 60.5 cm
  • Inscription: 'du No 2727 / 2' Painted
  • F273
  • West Gallery II
Further Reading
  • This one of a pair (with F274) of corner cupboards that were made for the apartment of the comte d'Artois (Louis XVI's youngest brother, later Charles X) at the château of Versailles, where they were probably placed in his bedroom to match a chest-of-drawers delivered two weeks earlier which had mounts of the same model. Originally the gilt-bronze oval medallions in the centre were decorated with a lion's pelt and a quiver of arrows, recalling the classical hero, Hercules, and strengthening the military character of the cupboards. This would have been very appropriate for the comte d'Artois, who was the Colonel-in-Chief of the Swiss Guards. The marble tops on the cupboards are original, and would have matched the griotte marble chimney-piece of d'Artois's bedroom.
    The military theme was perhaps less appropriate when the corner cupboards were moved into the apartment of the comtesse d'Artois, where they stood in her 'grand cabinet', or study. Both apartments were on the first floor of the south wing of Versailles, which was destroyed in 1836 to make way for the Galerie des Batailles.
    The cupboards were lent by the 4th Marquess of Hertford to the Musée Rétrospectif of 1865, an exhibition in Paris of eighteenth-century works of art. Both here and in later nineteenth-century inventories they are described as being of the Louis XIV era, or seventeenth century. In fact they date from the 1770s when neoclassicism was becoming very fashionable, but in France at this time this stylistic movement looked back to the days of Louis XIV for interpretations of the classical ideal, as well as directly back to Antiquity.