Coffer

Gilded coffer made of oak and tortoiseshell
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • Gilded coffer made of oak and tortoiseshell

Date:

1700/20

Artist:

Attributed to André-Charles Boulle (French, 1642–1732)
France, Paris

About this artwork

The cabinetmaker André-Charles Boulle was responsible for some of the finest examples of French furniture made during the reign of Louis XIV (1643–1715). Boulle perfected the technique of veneering furniture with a rich marquetry of tortoiseshell, pewter, and gilt copper, and he further enriched his surfaces with sculptural gilt bronze mounts. Acclaimed for his brilliant designs and superb execution, Boulle was commis- sioned by the most discerning and demanding patrons in France, among them members of the royal family, aristocrats, ministers, and financiers.

This rectangular coffer is a visually powerful example of Boulle’s work from the early eighteenth century. Such objects served as containers for medals or jewels. This example is richly veneered with marquetry panels of scrolls, strapwork, and vines executed in engraved gilt copper on a ground of tortoiseshell. Framing the panels are strips of ebony and pewter. The coffer also features gilt bronze mounts in the form of male, female, and animal heads. The escutcheon in the center of the front panel may depict the head of Apollo, his long hair braided on either side of his face and gathered in a knot below his chin. The lid contains a grinning, bearded male face, perhaps that of a satyr, crowned with a radiating headdress, the whole of which supports a handle.

On View

European Decorative Art, Gallery 234

Artist

André Charles Boulle

Title

Coffer

Origin

France

Date

1700–1720

Medium

Oak, tortoiseshell, brass, pewter, ebony, and gilt-bronze mounts

Dimensions

44.5 × 73 × 48.3 cm (17 1/2 × 28 3/4 × 19 in.)

Credit Line

Michael A. Bradshaw and Kenneth S. Harris, Eloise W. Martin, Richard T. Crane, Jr., Memorial, and European Decorative Arts Purchase funds; through prior acquisitions of Mrs. C. H. Boissevain in memory of Henry C. Dangler, Kate S. Buckingham Endowment, David Dangler, Harold T. Martin, and Katherine Field-Rodman

Reference Number

2001.54

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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