Pine with Exceptional Original Painted Decoration
Retaining Original Metalwork Hinges
Inscribed and Dated '1790'
Northern European c. 1790
77” high x 77.25” wide x 25” deep
A remarkable late C18th Marriage Cupboard, in the Folk Art tradition, made in two vertical sections and surmounted by an arched moulded cornice, all retaining the original stylised painted decoration and hand wrought iron hinges. The original painted surface shows some appealing evidence of wear and age and the subtle original polychrome colours have softened and patinated to a delightful chalky dry surface. There are small areas of paint loss, particularly towards the base, the exposed edges and sides as well as evident wear from handling, especially around the door openings. It is most unusual to see pieces of this age and significance retaining the original paint in such fine condition, which along with the bold architectural form define this as a rare and important example. Marriage Cupboards of this scale and importance were generally made to special commission for young married couples and were frequently offered by their families, containing woven, homespun and embroidered fabrics. They are also known as “Dowry”, “Brides” or “Wedding” Cupboards and are often associated with the Scandinavian Countries, where there was a strong tradition of Paint Decorated Furniture of this type as in other European alpine regions. The reason they are made in separate sections is so they could easily be de-assembled and transported up to the mountains in summer months, when the agricultural folk would take their livestock up to new pastures.