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Secretaire

Unknown1751

Museo Arqueológico de Alicante MARQ

Museo Arqueológico de Alicante MARQ

Mahogany, ebony and silver

Prismatic shaped mahogany box, made in La Havana, Cuba. It has an upper lid with a convex profile, with lock and metal hinges. The drawers have drop handles and silver escutcheons. The interior compartments and secret compartment in the upper part are made of mahogany. On the reverse side of the lid there are small doors decorated with glass. There are lateral handles for its transport and it has small legs with ball shaped feet. The secretaire is part of a set with a table which is made of the same wood and has cabriole legs ending in bun feet in the style of Queen Anne. The table has a slight cornice, two draws and a flap with a slightly curved border, with a central decoration of volutes.
The secretaire is decorated with inlaid small silver arabesque plaques in the corners of the draws, sides and on the upper part of the lid and upper surface. The interior of the small inside doors are covered in velvet embroidered with fleur de lis, the emblem of the House of the Bourbons. The drawers are framed by a small string of mahogany dots and the edges are decorated with fillets of ebony. There is a silver plaque on the front part of the secretaire, with the certificate of origin and authenticity.

The secretaire was a present from Fernando VII to the Queen’s lady in waiting, who was a member of the Proyé family, for her wedding. This piece of furniture is a good example of the change in taste in furniture throughout the 18th century. The use of mahogany, a much appreciated material, and especially that from Santo Domingo in Cuba, replaced the traditional pieces of furniture made of walnut. Cabriole legs were used, which gave the tables a more graceful aspect and also removed the need for transversals and fixings. To all this must be added the special richness of the piece with the use of silver, especially for the handles, which was not common for furniture. Due to the secretaire’s simplicity and sobriety of line it recalls the furniture of the Georgian style of the 18th century.

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