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
- Giles Grendey
- Secretary Cabinet
- Wood with red and gold lacquer decoration, mirror glass, and brass mounts
- 245.1 × 108 × 59.7 cm (96 1/2 × 42 1/2 × 23 1/2 in.)
- Gift of John and Neville Bryan