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Boulle in the Royal Collection

Intricate designs and exotic materials


Medal cabinet


RCIN 35486

Carlton House: The Blue Velvet Closet©

Twenty-five of these medal cabinets, dating from three distinct periods in the eighteenth century, have been identified. The first group, which were made under the direction of André-Charles Boulle himself, probably dates from 1705–15. The second group, to which this piece belongs, contains repetitions from his workshops in the 1720s and 1730s. The third group dates from after 1760, when a number of new versions were made.

While the first group were intended for medals, by the 1730s the cabinets were more likely to have been used for books or other articles. There is no physical evidence that this ‘medal cabinet’ ever contained medal shelves. Charles Wild’s (1781–1835) watercolour of the Blue Velvet Closet at Carlton House highlights how George IV intended this object to be displayed.

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