After Victorian dining chairs and antique dining tables , one of the most indispensable items in a Lancashire home at Christmas is an antique cabinet to display your precious nick-nacks in. However, like antique desks they vary enormously in terms of age and value – not helped by the variety of names they go under. Here, we help untangle the mystique of vitrines, chiffoniers and credenzas.
In the Ribble Valley, an antique cabinet with glazed doors is standard for any antique collector with an interest in fine glass and porcelain. The predecessor was the cabinet-on-stand, which became popular from the late 16th century onwards. Originating in Europe, they were often imported from Italy or Germany, to ports like Preston. antique cabinets of this vintage are highly decorated, made from exotic woods and inlaid with ebony, ivory, tortoiseshell, marble and semi-precious gems.
In Preston, antique marquetry furniture often includes 17th century Dutch display cabinets of exquisite workmanship – though beware any dated earlier than 1680, as these could be Victorian copies or even fakes. Around this time, oriental lacquered cabinets became popular – again, the style was copied in the 19th century. Generally, the glazed portion was mounted on a matching English stand, sometimes elaborately gilded and carved, and other times more simple in design. During the 18th century it became fashionable to collect and display books and fine porcelain, as well as curios, in glazed cabinets, leading to the development of furniture like the secretaire and bureau bookcase.
Antique dealers in Preston and Cumbria invariably have a glazed antique cabinet in their window – the ideal way to display their precious smaller pieces safely to a passing audience!
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