Unusual European vitrine, either Portuguese or Venetian, in original faux marble paint comprising two separate interlocking cupboards.
This is a very charming piece and difficult to classify. It is elegant and stylish, while also being naively executed. The paint appears to be all original, there are no layers underneath and no evidence of retouching.
The light blue/turquoise has been used as the bole for the original gilding. The gilt work has been touched up over the years. The scrollwork at the top has blackened in places due to the oxidisation of the bronze particles in gold paint, this process would take at least 80 years. Some of the gold may be more recent but there is a similar degree of wear overall that gives a fairly uniform age to the gilt.
The top of the cabinet is lined with a beautiful (and again, naively executed) hand gilded wallpaper, unlike anything else we have seen. The design picked out in pin pricks using a kind of chase and repousse technique where some of the design is indented and some extrudes.
The hinges and fastener on the top door are original to the piece, the glass is later. The key for the bottom cupboard is present and appears original to the piece. It moves the mechanism but slips before the lock can engage. The interior of the bottom cupboard is unadorned, the backing boards visible.
As per many pieces of old painted furniture, the wood used is light and soft (decorative pieces like this are said to have arisen from a scarcity of quality timbers to build with) which has led to some warping of the wood: The top has a slight lean now, the glazed door doesn't sit flush at the top and the two halves don't fit a snugly as they would have when new (they sit solidly but movement in the wood has left gaps.) The soft wood has also led to woodworm at some point. The lower end of the bottom cupboard having been badly affected, around the canted corners above the bun feet and a sliver just under the door. The top board of the bottom cupboard (not seen when the two are fitted) also shows worm damage. Aside from the bottom edge, no other visible damage is present.
160cm x 54cm x 24cm (62.9 x 21.2 x 9.4 inches)
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H: 160cm (62.99in)
W: 54cm (21.26in)
D: 24cm (9.45in)