Elizabeth I cabinet

Circa 1590
West Country, possibly Salisbury, Wiltshire

W 24" × H 40" with stand × D 14"

Stock # MARH0214


More information

Late Elizabeth I oak and cedar valuables cabinet with penwork figures and ‘grotesque’ motifs. This compelling object reflects the regional English interpretation of sophisticated Italian woodworking-design. Following Italian practice, the display surfaces of the cabinet (door panels) are composed of cedar. Polychrome penwork adorns both the outward and inward surfaces of the cedar door panels. When closed, the doors display full representations bearded male figures; each of the opposing figures is richly clad in doublet with peplum, ruff , gaiters and galligaskins (slop hoes) and grasps a halberd with one hand. With the doors open, the interior surfaces of the panels display pairs of opposing s-scrolls composed of ‘grotesque’ adorst serpents. The figures and s-scrolls, while executed in a fundamentally Italianate form of ornament (penwork) on cedar), are wholly English in form. Their design is entirely consistent with Elizabethan-period motifs and renderings of the male human form that appear on both high-level joined furniture and fixed woodwork. The exterior surfaces of the framing members of each door are carved with a wide, convex molding worked with two alternating rows of notched gouge strikes. This chain motif is one of the defining ornamental features of joined furniture associated with Salisbury. Original penwork preserved under later coats of wax. Lower hinges and one interior divider replaced; interior drawers lost.