This cabinet is made in oak, pine & cedar with the particularly rare feature of the glazed doors made of pewter similar to the fanlights over 18thc doors. The design of the glazing is of particular note as the maker has tricked the eye to presume that the central glazing is circular when it is actually a very slight oval so as to accommodate the diamond glazing to intersect at the symmetrical bronze motifs. The use of pewter was also to give strength to such a large glazed door was well as minimalise the size of the gilded astragal used. The cabinet, unusually, is all in one piece as this facilitates the sash for the secret door giving access to secret compartment. In the centre of the back there is secret compartment which is hidden by a panel which is counter weighted by sash weights
Original paint with very distressed gilding in parts.
The Carnarvon Family, Highclere Castle, Highclere, Newbury. Highclere Castle has now become well known as the setting for the Downton Abbey ITV period drama. The 5th Earl, George Edward Stanhope Molyneux Herbert, (1866-1923) was an enthusiastic amateur Egyptologist and discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun. It would be interesting to think that he may have used the secret compartment in the back of this cabinet to hide some Egyptian artifacts that we know he bought back, with him, to Highclere.
This cabinet typifies the great strength of perfect balance and proportion which the Georgians, quite rightly, plagiarised from the Romans and Greeks.