The earlier form of smaller cabinet with cushion-moulded frieze still persisted even into the first years of the eighteenth century, but in the marqueterie pieces there is a marked change in the use of floral forms, the carnation being a favourite motive. A comparison of Fig. 364 with Fig. 359 will show the difference in the character of this later inlay more clearly than it can be pointed out here. The solid base of Fig. 364 is a subsequent addition, the usual finish of these later cabinets being still a stretchering as in Fig. 359, but of more intricate shaping. These cabinets on spiral-leg stands have nearly always three, in rare instances, four, balusters on the front and only two at the back. That this may have been a source of weakness, especially with a heavy cabinet, such as Fig. 363, is probable, and may account for the presence of the two plain turned legs in that example, not connected to the stretcher, being added at a later date.
Fig. 365 is a good specimen of all-over marqueterie of about 1690, the inlay of box, holly, plane, king and rosewood, slightly shaded, and of fine quality, both from the point of design or technical execution. Fig. 366 shows the cabinet open. Behind the central door are mirrors, intended to give an effect of depth and perspective when the door is opened. This device is more usual in lacquer cabinets than in marqueterie, and was copied from the ebony pieces of Italian make which found their way to England at this date. The twisted legs have gilded caps and bases, and the stretcher is unusually thick. Cabinets of this kind appear to have been the production of East Anglia almost exclusively (in fact, even at the present day they are rarely found in the Midlands or the West), and considering the numbers of Dutch merchants and others who had settled in Norfolk and Suffolk at this date, especially in Norwich, Ipswich and Bury St. Edmunds, the strong Dutch character which many of these pieces exhibit can be easily understood.
Fig. 381. Cabinet On Stand. - Inlaid with marqueterie.
Fig. 382. The Interior Of The Cabinet, Fig. 381.
Fashions in marqueterie of the last decade of the seventeenth century do not appear to be confined so much to periods as to localities, that is, if we are not to assume the entire production of these expensive pieces to have been chaotic. It would, perhaps, be nearer to the truth to say that the distinction was even finer than one of districts, and that the strong similarity between certain pieces, in the designing of the inlay, is due, very often, to one man or one workshop. It is unlikely that master patterns would be duplicated, or that prickings from these patterns would be sold or given away to other makers. The panels in the front of Fig. 367 and the top, shown in Fig. 368, offer an interesting instance of this duplication. The four tiers of drawers being graduated in depth, four distinct patterns must have been required for the drawer fronts alone, the frieze of the stand being a duplicate of the top stage. This inlay of birds is a very familiar one, being found in the marqueterie furniture of this period too frequently to be merely a whim of a popular fashion. The panels in these pieces are not copies; they are duplicates, cut from the same pattern. Mr. Percy Macquoid illustrates two examples, in Fig. 40 and Plate IV of "The Age of Walnut," where the patterns are identical, the one being the reversed counterpart of the other. Both are very similar to, although not exactly the same in design, as Fig. 367. Even if this duplication, in original and counterpart (which is by no means exceptional in this bird-marqueterie) were not sufficient to establish a common source for both, there is the evidence of the woods themselves, which settles, finally, that in some examples which have been carefully examined, the grain of the counterpart ground exactly matches the original inlay, proving beyond question not only that the two must have been made in the same shop and by the same man, but they must both have been cut at the one time.
Fig. 383. Oak Bureau. - Veneered with holly and inlaid with fine scroll marqueterie. - Date about 1690-5. Viscount Rothermere.
There are numerous evidences of this common origin to be found in English furniture, at all periods from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, but in no instance, other than in this inlay of the Orange period, can the fact be stated so irrefutably.
In this chest, Fig. 367, the inlay is in two woods, a rich yellow and a reddish brown, in a figured walnut ground. The legs have square caps of almond wood, and the lower part of the shafts is veneered with a rich yellow wood cut to simulate the coursing of brickwork; an exceptional and very charming detail.
During the years from 1675 to 1695 the favourite pattern of small table was one on four twisted legs with bun-feet, tied by a serpentine stretcher, centred in an oval or a circle. The tops are usually made from straight pine, in narrow sections, edged with cross-grained walnut, moulded to a thumb section. Every variety of marqueterie, from the ivory jessamine flowers and leaves to the finely scrolled, can be found in these tables. Frequently the back is inlaid to correspond with the front, showing that they were made to stand away from a wall. Fig. 369 is an example of about 1675-80,. with marqueterie of choice design, especially in the laurelled bandings, and with the central oval of the top not connected to the outer banding with ribs, as in Fig. 368. Fig. 371 is one of the ornate chests on stretchered stands with shaft-turned legs, similar in character to Fig. 369, and of about the same date. It is only towards the end of the century when these inlaid chests begin again to be made in the older fashion, without stands. They vary considerably in quality, the appeal being, evidently, to a wider market than before. Fig. 372 is one of these, veneered with simple marqueterie in panels, and with the ornamental brass escutcheons of the time.
Fig. 384. The Bureau, Fig. 383, Shown Open.
Fig. 385. Walnut Veneered Table. - Inlaid with scroll-marqueterie of dark wood in panelled grounds of holly. - Date about 1690-5. Col. H. H. Mulliner.
Fig. 386. The Top Of The Table, Fig. 385. - Walnut scroll marqueterie in panels of holly inlaid in grounds of walnut oyster-pieces. - 3 ft by 1 ft. 11 ins.