Sunday, 31 August 2008

Useless, but so beautiful

A Spanish marquetry cabinet on stand in ivory, tortoiseshell, rosewood, ebonised wood, and gilt metal mounts , late 19th century, bearing an eagle crest and inscribed Isabella Castilla ferrer Bobadilla P.Santeger Cristobal Columbus P. Marchena P.Boyl Cpt Margaret' and TANTO MONTA, GRANADA 1492 , detailing scenes from the life of Christopher Columbus.
237.5cm high, 180cm wide, 54.5cm deep
Provenance: Previously at Great House, Hambledon, Surrey

This form of Spanish cabinet with engraved narrative and pierced gilt metal gallery is reflective of the typical 17th century form known as a papeleira. The eagle crest is believed to be the armorial insignia of Ferdinand II, King of Aragon (1479-1516) and his wife (married 1469) Isabella I, Queen of Castile (1474-1505) thereby uniting Castile with Aragon. The motto TANTA MONTA and the crowned cyphers F and Y, and the badges of a yoke (left) and sheaf of arrows (right) all support this identification. The shield appears to have been borne on the breast of an eagle as Ferdinand was Holy Roman Emperor.

Now playing: Christopher Cross - Sailing
via FoxyTunes


Patricia Gray said...

Sometimes beautiful is enough.

HOBAC said...


Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Ah, not everything has to be useful.

Cote de Texas said...

not useless! it would be a great place to store spools of thread! as if anyone has those.

Seraph + Splendor said...

Ever so beautiful (marquetry never fails to give us goose bumps for some reason...) Lots of spools of thread here, what a grand sewing cabinet it would make for all of our finery!

Easy and Elegant Life said...

Well, it's certainly better looking than the unpainted CD shelves hiding in our pantry. And they're rapidly becoming obsolete. Which means they'll be useless and horrible looking to boot.

Mrs. E. and I have used a Chinese scroll cabinet to house bottles of wine that we wish to put down. (Under the "out of sight; out of mind" rule.) I bet there is still a good use for this, too.

An Aesthete's Lament said...

Uselessness is so appealing, don't you think? So many divine things are.

katiedid said...

It has a wonderful use: to make an otherwise mundane wall into a very beautiful focus of attention....and it provides a story to boot.