Rare curved chest of drawers, the front in crossbow, rosewood veneer and violet wood richly inlaid with flowers in ivory crossbars, opening by three drawers. The shelf is decorated in the centre with a medallion with the figure of Empress Catherine II and, at the front corners, with reserves of Siberian arms. Rich ornamentation in chiselled silver, such as foliated scraps with Siberian coat of arms and framing rods with garlands of flowers.
Russian work circa 1762/1765 (transformations, especially the lower part of the case and the feet which have been changed as well as the silver rockery motifs decorating them, small accidents and restorations,).
Height : 77 Width : 103 Depth : 54
Provenance: Purchased $80,000, early 1973, from Prince Paul of Yugoslavia, heir of Princess Demidoff.
It appeared at the sale of the furniture of the castle of Pratolino on April 21, 1969, under No. 129, reproduced. According to various notes, it was sold for ITL 52 000 000 to the Russian Government, which, after the sale, did not obtain the necessary funds to pay for it and, as a result, remained unsold.
- Former Paul-Louis Weiller Collection
Note: the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg keeps a similar chest of drawers with identical marquetry, with the figure of Catherine II, as well as the arms of Siberia (and not the arms of Novgorod as mentioned in the 1969 Sotheby's sales catalogue), with some variations, notably the feet which have remained original. On the other hand, its ornamentation is in gilded metal and the scraps are not armoured but decorated with branches. Its handles were brought back later.
Inventory number 60.