cabinet dates from the first quarter of the 20th century but sports an
abundance of Medieval and Renaissance motifs. The center door has a carved motif of urns with flowering leaves
and fruit, contained therein, and overflowing as well. There are two dolphins
flanking this stack of elements.
The fish are an allusion to the French word "dauphin" which means both
'heir to the throne' and 'dolphin.' The
reference dates back to Guy VIII, Count of Vienne (the principal city in the
Dauphiné region of France), whose coat of arms included a dolphin and who had
been nicknamed the 'dauphin' from Dauphiné.
Guy's descendent sold his holdings to King Philippe VI in the 14th
century subject to the requirement that the heir to the throne assume the title
"dauphin." Subsequent heirs
to the throne incorporated the fish in their coats of arms with one of the best
known being that of the future King Charles VIII of France (reigned 1483-1498,
known as "the Affable").
Perhaps if he had chosen a more fierce symbol such as the lion or
salamander (see item 5154) he might have survived the fatal and reign-ending
accident in which he hit his head while passing through a doorway.
The two smaller doors on either side of this cabinet are similar, with carvings of urns and their contents, but are
dolphin-free, as is the best tuna! All of the doors are flanked by fluted
walnut columns. Directly below the top are carved, detailed support corbels
including incised flowers. The elaborate mouldings below the top and near the
floor, above the front bun feet, express the architectural spirit of the piece.
While the front, sides and top are all solid walnut, the interior shelf that runs the
width of the cabinet, and the back, are both oak. This is in keeping with construction techniques in the 20th
hardware is original, locks are functional and keys are included. The cabinet
has been refinished by our expert craftsmen, and gives almost a
"Showroom" appearance. As with everything we offer there are no
structural problems, stains or burns to contend with.
As so often happens when trying to photograph solid
walnut furniture, there is a variation
in the color in the photographs
caused by the lighting and the angle.
The color that is truest to
the piece is that in the picture
at the top of this page.