9986 – AN EBONY TORTOISESHELL AND PEWTER INLAID CABINET ON STAND ATTRIBUTED TO HENDRIK VAN SOEST

9986 AN EBONY TORTOISESHELL AND PEWTER INLAID CABINET ON STAND ATTRIBUTED TO HENDRIK VAN SOEST DEPICTING SCENES FROM THE TALES OF REYNARD THE FOX Antwerp. Last Quarter Of The Seventeenth Century. Measurements: Height: 68″ (172.7 cm) Width 43″ (109.2 cm) Depth: 17″ (43 cm).



Research
Of ebony, rosewood, ebonized, tortoiseshell and engraved pewter inlay, giltwood, and ebonized pearwood. The cabinet section surmounted by a gallery whose turned balustrades bear original gilding and is centered by an inlaid foliate plaque with conforming plaques to each end. The inlaid and engraved central cupboard opens to reveal a fully fitted interior of five foliate inlaid drawers. The cupboard is flanked by two banks of four drawers, all with ebony moldings and superbly inlaid and engraved scenes based on Reynard the Fox. Each drawer has an old gilt-brass escutcheon. The sides veneered with geometric parquet designs. The base with an apron with foliate inlay and centered by a scene based on Reynard the Fox and supported by a pair of opposing Solomonic columns and four pilasters to the back. All rest upon a shelf platform and four turned bun feet. Contemporary realignments to interior of central section. The apron and retaining molding original. The legs and platform recently reinstated. Restoration to inlays of interior drawers of central section.  Minor, mostly old repairs to exterior.

Marks:
Bears engraved inscription to upper left hand drawer on ‘gravestone:’
Hier leydt begrae Coppe de goede hinne / Stire 17 May

Bears paper label to the back:
CONTINENTAL GALLERIES OF FINE ART
1450 Drummond St.—MONTREAL—Tel. PLateau 1072

Provenance:
Continental Galleries of Fine Art, Montreal
A Canadian Collector

The present cabinet on stand belongs to a small group of only eight known examples to have as its theme scenes from the Tales of Reynard the Fox, manufactured in Antwerp in the last quarter of the seventeenth century. Comparing profiles and engraving of the marquetry, it is possible to conclude that all are the product of a single source, in this instance the workshop of the eminent marchand ébéniste Hendrik (Henri) Van Soest (1659 – after 1718), who appears to have established himself in the city around 1690.1 Figure 1 depicts a self-portrait by Van Soest in marquetry, the only one of its kind known to have been made by an ébéniste. The Van Soest family was actively involved in the business life of Antwerp and their name appears several times in the registers of the Guild of Saint Luke.

Footnotes:

  1. Thibaut Wolvesperges, Le Meuble En Belgique Meubelkunst in Belgieë Belgian Furniture: 1500-1800, (Bruxelles: Ed. Racine, 2000) 51.

Full research report available.

Note: This piece is subject to CITES regulations when exporting outside the EU.


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