Its main innovation is the abundance of drawers protected behind vantaux (doors), sometimes in a complex architecture that allows secret drawers. The cabinet is designed as a table top, often equipped with its own base. The commode, whose drawers go much lower to the floor, is not yet invented.
Throughout Europe, the designers are using all possible imaging techniques: direct carving of ebony, painted panels in Flanders, pietre dure in Italy and varnishes imitating Chinese lacquer. Artists are traveling, and this new art becomes international. Colbert's reforms attract in Paris the best European cabinetmakers.
On June 7 at château d'Artigny near Tours, Rouillac sells a lacquered cabinet, lot 52 estimated € 1M. Here is the link to the auction house's website. This piece is mounted on its base made of gilded caryatid terms according to the fashion in Paris in the 1670s. The overall height is 198 cm.
Its lacquer is European, but it is illustrating the Taoist theme of the fable of the prince and the bird which was not yet translated into French, suggesting that the artist worked from an original Chinese model. The animals are related to the iconography of the period inspired by the royal menagerie at Versailles.
This piece of furniture resurfaced in Porto a few years ago. It had probably been presented by the French monarchy to the court of Portugal whose queen at that time was a French princess.
The cabinetmaker is not identified. A cabinet of the same decade executed by Cucci at the Gobelins was sold for £ 4.5 million including premium by Christie's on December 10, 2009.