A rare Charles II cocus-oyster-veneered cabinet-on-stand, circa 1670. (Mallett)
Case furniture with bold chiaroscuro surfaces (comprising wood and tortoiseshell veneer, marquetry, parquetry and painted finishes) was popular during the last three decades of the seventeenth-century.
Some view the practice as distasteful; some say it’s “gilding the lily”. It tells me the cabinetmakers and patrons possessed humour. I still chuckle every time I walk along the corridor towards the William and Mary tortoiseshell chest of drawers.
I look forward to the next opportunity when I can use a piece of furniture as a canvas to create a lively and provocative picture.