Oak and ebony 'Groninger' chest

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Northern Netherlands, Groningen
Ca. 1620 - 1640
Oak, ebony, iron
98 cm
130 cm
67 cm

L. van Aalst & A. Hofstede, Noord-Nederlandse meubelen van renaissance tot vroege barok 1550-1670, Houten 2011, p. 316, 317.

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This oak Groninger chest is of extraordinary high size and is decorated with the typical Groninger arches and concave and convex pipe frames in the frieze and on the high plinth. The eye-catching concave and convex pipe frames are filled with ebony. Above the Ionic capitals, with small cherubs between the volutes, the frieze contains ebony-inlaid gate motifs surrounded by intarsia of dark and light parts. The high and purely decorative plinth, without storage function, is worked and decorated in the same way as the frieze.

Under the columns, which support the forward cantilevering frieze, small rectangles with lion's heads are depicted. The Groninger chest stands on high ball feet. The sides are simply constructed with two framed, unadorned, embossed panels with a wrought-iron handle on the crossbar. The decorations on the frieze and plinth are not continued on the sides. The chest was therefore really meant to be seen only from the front; this indicates a fairly early date of creation. Inventories show that this was a popular type of chest in Groninger households which, because of its value, was also used as collateral when taking out loans.


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