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Secretary Cabinet

A work made of wood with red and gold lacquer decoration, mirror glass, and brass mounts.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of wood with red and gold lacquer decoration, mirror glass, and brass mounts.


c. 1735


Attributed to Giles Grendey
English, 1693–1780
Clerkenwell, London

About this artwork

Giles Grendey was a cabinetmaker and timber merchant with workshops near St. Paul’s, London. Unusually for an English cabinetmaker of his time, he had a broad international clientele: a fire that struck his premises in August 1731 destroyed over £1000 worth of furniture (approximately $37,000 in today’s currency) described as “pack’d for Exportation against the next morning.” In fact, Grendey’s most famous commission came from a Spanish client, the Duke of Infantado, for whose castle at Lazcano in northern Spain he supplied a suite of over seventy-seven pieces of furniture in the late 1730s. This cabinet is decorated in a style similar to the Infantado suite, in red and gold japanning, the English name for imitation lacquer.

The cabinet combines some classical elements, like the broken pediment and flame-like finials at the top, with chinoiserie (Chinese-inspired) figures and scenes done in gold and silver. On the interior doors, a lady holding a branch faces a warrior holding a banner. The slope front is richly decorated with figures riding in a chariot, while others lounge in summer pavilions. The drawers and slides display landscapes with horsemen and other figures, birds, and foliage.

— About This Object, European Decorative Arts LaunchPad app


Currently Off View


Applied Arts of Europe


Giles Grendey


Secretary Cabinet


England (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Wood with red and gold lacquer decoration, mirror glass, and brass mounts


241.3 × 108 × 60.4 cm (95 × 42 1/2 × 23 3/4 in.); Doors Open: 241.3 × 195.6 × 60.4 cm (95 × 77 × 23 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Neville and John Bryan

Reference Number


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