Gloria Graham, AKBD
Brendan Donovan Furniture & Cabinet Co.
3685 Investment Lane, West Palm Beach, Florida
Phone (561)254-7736,

Friday, March 4, 2011


The Met

Today I decided to re-visit The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art  before checking in at Scavolini.   I could be swallowed up never to be seen again in all the great art on display.  Not everyone can endure going to an art gallery or museum with me.  I. Take. My. Time.  I read every label and all the commentary.  Then I take notes and photos (if allowed).  One of the current special exhibits is entitled Thinking Outside the Box:  European Cabinets, Caskets, and Cases from the Permanent Collection (1500-1900).   I thought it would be interesting to look back and see a few examples of cabinetry from the past before we look ahead at Scavolini.  Before entering the exhibit I spied these two most amazing examples of Rennaisance cabinetry.


The first dates back to early 17th century Germany.  Are you ready for this?  Here's what it's made of: pine, oak, walnut, Hungarian Ash, walnut, palisander (?),  birch, various fruitwoods and MORE!  Really?  What else is there?  Before becoming guild masters, cabinet makers had to study architectural theory, especially things like column details.  Cabinets were made to look like facades of Italian Rennaisance Palaces.


 The second example is Dutch and was made of oak in 1622.  It was used for linen storage and is the earliest definitely datable example of its kind.  Narratives depicted in carving represent stories from the bible.
Some things never change. This quote presides over the exhibit.

 The exhibit itself contained many examples of intricate ornate boxes and cabinets.  What is so interesting is that these items were also entirely functional.

Fall Front Cabinet. Italy 1600

This Fall Front Cabinet is from Italy and dates back to about 1600.  It's made of pine, walnut, veneered with rosewood, ebony, macassar ebony and ivory.  There are ten small drawers and a central  compartment behind the panel.  Photo taken of cabinet behind glass.

Dutch Coffer from Mid 1600s

The contrast is most striking in this coffer and it features a mirrored recess in the center used for storing a treasured object to be admired.  Just about all of these cabinets were crafted by unknown artists, commissioned by wealthy patrons.

I also enjoyed the Stiegletz, Steichen, Strand exhibit as well as the Gutar Heroes:  Legendary Craftsmen from Italy to New York.  All good things must end, however so I made my way to Soho to meet Daniele over at Scavolini.  Wait till you see what I found there!  More later.


  1. I'm enjoying your visit to New York and I'm looking forward to your full report on Scavolini.

  2. wow, those pieces are incredible. Brendan is going to drool over those! ;)

    sometimes it makes me sad that such exquisite craftsmanship became overshadowed by industrialization...

    I miss The Met. can't wait to see rest of your pictures!

  3. Yes, workmanship like that is a tradition passed down. It's interesting to note that the craftsmen of the German piece were required to study De Architectura by Vetruvius. It was an illustrated guide translated into German in 1548.

  4. Gloria, small sampling at the Met - the Louvre is FLOODED with Early to Late Renaissance furniture, and let's not get started on the Dutch and the Wunderkammers... oh we would go on for hours and hours, right? It's so good to get out of the box and explore to be inspired.