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Boulle Cabinet: M.2-2010

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Object information

Current Location: Gallery 17 (Flower)


Boulle Cabinet


Workshop: Boulle, André-Charles




Louis XIV ormolu-mounted première and contrepartie turtleshell and floral marquetry cabinet on a stand with gilt-wood and ormolu Egyptian monopodia supports and four ball feet.

The cabinet consists of an oak and pine carcass with thirteen outer drawers, and a central cupboard fitted with four smaller drawers, concealed from view by the hinged door. It rests on an oak stand with four rounded gilt-brass feet and three drawers at the top; the front is supported by two Egyptian-inspired giltwood monopodia, with ormolu edges. The cabinet and stand are veneered with a variety of materials: dark wood, other specimen woods, turtle shell, horn, copper, and white metal alloys. Gilt-metal mounts were added, including the foliate mask lock-plates, the splayed lion-paws which support the door, and the medal with a profile portrait of the young Louis XIV flanked by military trophies. The cabinet's central door is decorated with a parrot seated on an oak branch, with a butterfly above, all executed in specimen woods and set into a turtle shell background. The pair of wood marquetry roundels inserted on each side of the cabinet continue the motif of birds set amidst flowering foliage, again with turtle shell grounds.


History note: Acquired at an unknown date by George Byng, MP (1764-1847) for Wrotham Park - almost certainly at Oxenham's of London in 1828.; by descent to his nephew George Stevens Byng, 2nd Earl of Stafford. Thence by descent at Wrotham Park to Edmund Henry Byng, 6th Earl of Strafford (1862-1951); Trustees of the 6th Earl of Strafford Will Trust by whom offered to HM Government in lieu of inheritance tax, 2009. Short term loan from HM Government to Wallace Collection.

Legal notes

Accepted by HM Government and allocated to the Fitzwilliam Museum in 2010

Measurements and weight

Depth: 52 cm
Height: 184 cm
Width: 119.5 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Paris ⪼ France

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Allocated (2010-10-11) by HM Goverment in lieu of inheritance tax


Louis XIV (1638-1715)
17th Century, Late
Production date: circa AD 1680 : The date of the Egyptian monopodia supports has been revised from c. 1795 to c. 1800-1830


This flamboyant rectangular cabinet-on-stand is an example of the most expensive and fashionable kind of display furniture produced by André-Charles Boulle and his workshop for Louis XIV of France and his court.

School or Style


Components of the work

Decoration composed of gold leaf ( gold leaf was applied to the reverse of the turtle shell to simulate amber.) pigment ( intense blue pigment was painted to the reverse of the horn to simulate lapis lazuli)
Mounts composed of gilt brass ( probably)
Veneer composed of ebony ( probably) turtle shell specimen woods horn copper pewter tin
Feet composed of gilt brass
Carcass composed of oak pine
Stand composed of oak

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.2-2010
Primary reference Number: 178590
Entry form: 1041
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Sketchfab model
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Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Friday 15 December 2023 Last processed: Friday 15 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Boulle Cabinet" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-06-12 22:46:23

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