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European Cabinets

Originally conceived in the medieval era, cabinets remained low-key, almost exclusively practical pieces until the stylish French put their mark on the furniture pieces. The French dressoir, a precursor to the dressers used for clothing storage, lived in the dining room. These early cupboards were little more than trestle tables with shelves on top, forerunners to modern hutches and china cabinets.

With the perfection of woodworking joints, the refinement of quality finishing techniques, and the development of advanced hinges, locking mechanisms, and hardware, the cabinet took on a more sophisticated demeanor over time. European cabinet panels, doors, and friezes became decorative surfaces indicative of the nuances of their furniture style: from English Tudor arches, tracery, and cutouts that mimicked Gothic architecture to the gilted, painted, and elaborately carved in Italian Renaissance style.

The European cabinet's evolution closely traces that of furniture as a whole. Whether simple, bare-bones structures or fashionably high-style variants, cabinets embody every sensibility.


Quick Facts

  • In the late-13th century in Lyon, the king of France granted furniture makers in the city a tax exemption that fueled an explosion of French furniture production
  • In December 2014, a 19th-century mahogany corner cabinet with a swan neck pediment and glass doors sold at Bonhams for £220
  • A 17th-century cabinet sold at a 2014 Bonhams auction in England for the tiny sum of £50

Recommended Items at Auction

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Modern 20C Danish Wood Sideboard Credenza Cabinet
Nov 10, 2:00 PM EST
Modern 20C Danish Wood Sideboard Credenza Cabinet
by Hill Auction Gallery
Est: $100- $1,000
$251 Bid
Poul Cadovius Teak Wall Unit
Oct 27, 6:00 PM EDT
Poul Cadovius Teak Wall Unit
by Kodner Galleries
Est: $500- $800
$2501 Bid
Painted Country Corner French style sideboard, approx 95cm H x 154cm W x 48cm D
Oct 31, 9:30 AM AEDT
Painted Country Corner French style sideboard, approx 95cm H x 154cm W x 48cm D
by Vickers & Hoad
Est: AUD180- AUD220
AUD1401 Bid
LOUIS XVI MAHOGANY LIFT LID VITRIN BRONZE TRIM
Oct 28, 11:00 AM EDT
LOUIS XVI MAHOGANY LIFT LID VITRIN BRONZE TRIM
by Kamelot Auctions
Est: $300- $500
$2251 Bid
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Otto Schulz (1874-1936) Dinnerware cabinet
Oct 28, 5:00 PM CEST
Otto Schulz (1874-1936) Dinnerware cabinet
by Piasa
Est: €6,000- €9,000
€6,0001 Bid
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18c French Cabinet Figure of a Gentleman
Nov 07, 12:00 PM EDT
18c French Cabinet Figure of a Gentleman
by Neely Auction
Est: $200- $400
$1000 Bids
FRENCH ART DECO MARBLE TOP DISPLAY CASE C.1935
Oct 27, 11:00 AM EDT
FRENCH ART DECO MARBLE TOP DISPLAY CASE C.1935
by Kamelot Auctions
Est: $500- $700
$5000 Bids
Osvaldo Borsani (Italian 1911-1985) Cabinet, early 1950s
Oct 29, 10:00 AM BST
Osvaldo Borsani (Italian 1911-1985) Cabinet, early 1950s
by Lyon & Turnbull
Est: £1,500- £2,500
£7500 Bids
FRENCH OAK 18TH C. 2-PART CABINET PANELED DOORS
Oct 27, 11:00 AM EDT
FRENCH OAK 18TH C. 2-PART CABINET PANELED DOORS
by Kamelot Auctions
Est: $400- $600
$4000 Bids
3-PART 18TH CENTURY FRENCH CHERRY CABINET
Oct 27, 11:00 AM EDT
3-PART 18TH CENTURY FRENCH CHERRY CABINET
by Kamelot Auctions
Est: $500- $700
$5000 Bids
FRENCH MACASSAR CHINA CABINET TWO SLIDING DOORS
Oct 27, 11:00 AM EDT
FRENCH MACASSAR CHINA CABINET TWO SLIDING DOORS
by Kamelot Auctions
Est: $500- $800
$4500 Bids
FRENCH MID CENTURY MODERN OAK GUN CABINET 1975
Oct 27, 11:00 AM EDT
FRENCH MID CENTURY MODERN OAK GUN CABINET 1975
by Kamelot Auctions
Est: $600- $800
$6000 Bids
BUIJS, H., éd. Un Cabinet Particulier. Les Estampes de la Collection Frits
Nov 17, 1:30 PM CET
BUIJS, H., éd. Un Cabinet Particulier. Les Estampes de la Collection Frits
by Burgersdijk & Niermans
Est: €55- €70
€550 Bids
Bread bowl, German, c. 1900,
Nov 02, 10:00 AM CET
Bread bowl, German, c. 1900,
by Historia Auktionshaus
Est: €0- €0
€4200 Bids
cupboard of an Orchestrion, German, probably Leipzig
Oct 30, 10:00 AM CEST
cupboard of an Orchestrion, German, probably Leipzig
by Henry's Auktionshaus AG
Est: €1,250- €2,500
€1,2000 Bids
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Wrayflex Ia No.3890
Oct 30, 10:00 AM CEST
Wrayflex Ia No.3890
by LP Foto Auktioner
Est: 3,000 kr- 3,600 kr
2,600 kr0 Bids
Art Deco Sideboard With Shelves
Oct 28, 7:00 PM EDT
Art Deco Sideboard With Shelves
by Lettieri Auction & Appraisal
Est: $300- $600
$1500 Bids

Sellers Who Sell European Cabinets


Piasa

Piasa

Kamelot Auctions

Kamelot Auctions

Osenat

Osenat

Crescent City Auction Gallery

Crescent City Auction Gallery