When we consider the many masterworks in the Musuem's collections, we often only consider paintings and sculpture. However, the Museum possesses several pieces of splendid furniture. In our English paneled room, a very lavish black, gilt, and bronze cabinet stands beneath the portrait study of George Villiers, Circle of Rubens. The cabinet was a gift of Friends of Art in 1980, purchased from the collections of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Luburgh.
The cabinet is composed of rosewood, tulipwood, cherry, poplar, and pine, with gilt metal mounts, porcelain plaques framed in ormolu, with incised details of wheat, and wonderful marquetry floral motifs. Marquetry is the art of inlaying different woods, and other natural materials, to create a picture. The cabinet was created by Alexander Roux, a French-born American maker and importer of fine furniture, who worked in New York between 1837 and 1880. Roux was very successful, employing 120 workers by 1855, and, in the 1870s, grossed more than $.5 million, an extraordinary sum at the time. Roux succeeded in satisfying the taste for exotic, unique, and exuberant design and detail with splendidly crafted pieces. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York possesses an extremely similar cabinet, which is featured on the Museum's website. The website entry tells us that the cabinet is the "Néo-Grec" style, "an inventive combination of motifs from antiquity, the Renaissance, and the late 18th century Louis XVI style."