Unlocking Wonder: A peek into the world of luxury cabinets

Materials and Construction: Restorers' Modifications

Dublin Core


Materials and Construction: Restorers' Modifications


Technical issues with respect to classification and investigation into the cabinet


Luckily, a decent amount of investigation has actually been made into the form of this specific cabinet due to it’s being the subject of a 1979 student analysis; unluckily, the analysis demonstrates inconsistencies that threaten the object’s claim to total authenticity. Husch, the researcher in question, identified the piece as a "Spanish Papelera” but discovered a variety of elements pointing to the fact that the cabinet had been modified at least twice since the creation of its panels and exterior drawers; based on visually and materially similar items, the cabinet’s original date of creation must have been around the first half of the seventeenth century, but certain sections--such as the interior console--bear evidence of different artist’s and craftsmen’s handiwork. Husch identifies the glossy veneered wood on the top and sides to be rosewood, which in itself complicates the timeline as rosewood, imported from the Americas, had only just been introduced for furniture in Spain in the seventeenth century, whereas the standard material had typically been Spanish walnut and often pine for the internal components. Additionally, the shape of the object’s external casing, rather than exhibiting the typically even corners with iron reinforcements, instead has unusual overhanging lips on the top and base. Furthermore, the cabinet lacks the typical pair of side-mounted handles but contains restoration plugs suggesting handles were once in place. Ultimately, the most technically accurate form of the cabinet is, as Husch contends, a papelera, but in its present state the object is a unique hybrid of seventeenth century Spanish elements and characteristics from history of amendments spanning its roughly four-hundred year lifetime.



“Materials and Construction: Restorers' Modifications ,” Unlocking Wonder: A peek into the world of luxury cabinets, accessed May 29, 2024, https://www.ats.amherst.edu/meadcollection/items/show/40.