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Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Richard Winterton Auctioneers Discover Rare Collectors Cabinet

One of the finest and rarest items of furniture to date has recently been discovered in a Staffordshire property.

It belongs to a genre of furniture known as collectors’ cabinets, essentially a small cabinet with a fitted interior for housing objects d’art for wealthy connoisseurs. This example is thought to be Indo-Portuguese in origin and is parquetry veneered in kingwood with convex oval panels of tortoiseshell to the two front doors and side handles.

The interior is fitted with a series of tortoiseshell faced drawers which in turn conceal a ‘secret compartment’ for particularly treasured possessions. Dating from the latter part of the nineteenth century, such objects are works or art in their own right from a cabinet makers’ point of view. These were made to either sit on a table or as in this case mounted on a stand which is of Chinese Chippendale design, (also incorporating tortoiseshell plaques).

Purchased by the current vendor from an auction during the 1950’s, it is reputed to have associations with Horace Walpole’s Gothic masterpiece Strawberry Hill Castle near Twickenham. In latter years the cabinet made a TV debut on the BBC’s Antiques Road Show at Lichfield Cathedral in the 1990’s where experts valued it at over £10K for insurance. It is being offered in Richard Winterton’s Fine Art & Collectors’ Sale on 1st September.

Adrian Rathbone, Associate/Fine Arts Manager observes:

‘Collectors’ cabinets of this quality are rare desirable works of art. The compact proportions and understated elegant design means it would not look out of place in a modern house or apartment as well as the drawing room of a grand house. In recent years it had been used to store trinkets, but originally it would have been full of treasures such as jade, ivory or even precious jewels. Lovingly polished over the years to give a great patina, we expect a great deal of interest form UK and overseas buyers and investors’.

Valuations for all antiques and collectors’ items are held Tuesdays at The Lichfield Auction Centre from 10-4pm. Contact Richard Winterton Auctioneers for further details on 01543 251081.

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