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Cupboard, English, unknown maker, before 1818, re-using eighteenth century moulded panels, grained and painted deal

Height: 136.5cm
Width: 112cm
Depth: 79cm

Museum number: XF98

Curatorial note

The two doors with applied late-seventeenth or eighteenth-century egg-and-dart pattern bolection mouldings bordered by narrow vertical rectangular sunk panels with bead and leaf moulding, as on cat. XF97 but of different widths. The top of the cupboard is plain but with simple bead moulding to bottom front edge; brass oval keyhole escutcheon to right-hand door and unmarked replacement brass lock; original brass catches at top and bottom of the door. The interior is fitted with eight full-width deal drawers above two open cupboards with a plain vertical divider; each drawer has two inset brass ring pull handles; the drawers are numbered in ascending order on small inset ivory discs 67-74; the cupboard is numbered 67-74 in white paint centre top against a rectangular area painted to resemble porphyry. The carcase was deepened in 2006 to enable the cupboard to shut.

This cupboard and XF97 stood either side of the Colonnade at the time of Soane’s death as shown in plate XXVI in the 1835 Description

This cupboard and XF97 seem to have previously been three separate cupboards; two with re-used bolection mouldings matching those on XF97 although not of the same dimensions and another taller cupboard with Soanean flush reed moulding to the door. The two side cupboards were probably part of the furnishings of Soane’s Lower Office, like XF97, and made c.1818. They must have been made at the same time as XF97 since all the drawers are made in an identical fashion – that is also true of the centre cupboard section of this cupboard and XF97. The two side cupboards of this cupboard and XF97 are presumably those shown, with this cupboard and XF97, on the plan published in Soane’s Description, 1830, plate 2, as two separate cupboards (there is no sign of the taller cupboard now between them) at the east end of the Colonnade. This arrangement is also shown on the plan published in the 1835 Description, although it seems likely that the cupboards were assembled into their current arrangement in 1833 when Soane bought the 54 volumes of Robert Adam drawings which were then stored in them. The view of the Colonnade published in 1835 shows them after alteration (as today).

The seventeenth and eighteenth-century applied bolection mouldings on this cupboard and XF978 are of the same pattern but different widths. Many doors elsewhere in No. 13 have similar, seemingly eighteenth century, panels of applied moulding, as does one door on the staircase of No. 14, constructed in 1824-25.1 Peter Thornton believed that these ‘Kentian’ mouldings might have been retained by Soane from the demolition of Yarborough House at Chelsea in 1809. However, a panel with egg-and-dart bolection moulding is shown on the back of Soane’s No. 12 Office door in a watercolour of 1808 and his practice must have brought him numerous opportunities for salvage of such panels.

1 SM Vol. 83, 14 (Figure 55) and SM Vol. 83, 6: the latter confirms that it is a two door cupboard with reused panels on both doors which is shown.

Literature

J. Soane Description of the Residence of John Soane, Architect, London, 1835, p. 41


If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: worksofart@soane.org.uk