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"Secret Splendour: The Hidden World of Baroque Cabinets" at the Holburne Museum
English Japanned wood, c. 1670. © V&A, London.
BATH.- This theatrical exhibition casts new light on some of the most magnificent and beautiful pieces of furniture ever made. An impressive array of cabinets are displayed fully opened for the first time to reveal their dazzling interiors.

Cabinets were among the most spectacular pieces of furniture produced during the seventeenth century. Made from a variety of rare and exotic materials they were expensive status objects that were designed to show off the wealth and importance of their owners. Their doors were opened to only the most privileged guests to reveal lavishly decorated interiors designed to display their owners most prized and precious objects. Visitors now are able to share this experience as the cabinets are displayed fully opened for the first time.

The show includes astonishing pieces made from the widest variety of materials and techniques including tortoiseshell, ivory, ebony, painted panels, verre églomisé, marble, pietra‐dura, silver, marquetry, intarsia, and japanning. Cabinets made in England, Flanders, Holland, France and Austria will be included.

The Holburne has three fine seventeenth‐century cabinets in its collection. This exhibition brings together fourteen Baroque cabinets including some of the finest cabinets from the V&A‘s collection.

Often displayed with their doors closed and locked in unlit corners of country houses and museums these cabinets are often overlooked by visitors. This is the first exhibition to concentrate solely on these magnificent pieces of furniture and to give them the attention that they fully deserve.

The Holburne Museum houses an important art collection formed by Sir William Holburne in the nineteenth‐century, which includes paintings, silver, sculpture, furniture and porcelain of national and international significance. Artists in the collection include Gainsborough, Guardi, Stubbs, Ramsay and Zoffany.

The Museum reopened in May 2011 after ambitious renovations and a new extension by Eric Parry Architects. The Holburne has fast gained a reputation as one of a number of outstanding regional museums in the UK.



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