Neoclassical Painted Chest with Geometric Motifs, Austria circa 1875
Neoclassical Painted Chest with Geometric Motifs, Austria c.1875. This unique chest illustrates the knowledge that rural cabinet makers' possessed about furnishings made with the highest quality materials for the residences of the wealthy. Furnishings made for the ruling class were widely disseminated by engravings gathered into books and easily viewed by a wide variety of client. In this particular chest the geometric precision of the motifs emulated the appearance of a more costly piece inlaid with exotic imported and local timbers chosen for their high contrast in both pattern and colour. Please enlarge and zoom on the additional photographs to see the unusual pattern of the paint used to simulate burl walnut while the golden glow resembled the lustre of satinwood or sycamore. The three large drawers are flanked and framed by a pair of pilasters notable for their vertically fluted design as well as the capitals that sprout from the top of each pilaster. The manner in which the painted decoration of this chest has been applied indicates that it was primarily designed so the top and front would be immediately and memorably viewed. The solid colour of each side is similar to a wooden chest. It is interesting to see that the geometric precision of the rectangles made of individual tiles lined up from the two top sections to the front two sections on each of the three drawers. This columnar appearance repeats the actual columnar appearance of the pilasters and gives the chest a certain visual continuity. All three of the drawers have cast brass pulls each in an octagonal shape while in the centre of each chest is an oval brass escutcheon used to protect the painted surface from the scratches of an iron key when it is inserted to engage the lock on the inside of each drawer.
WIDTH: 47¼ in | HEIGHT: 41 in | DEPTH: 22½ in
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