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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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French pine buffet and hutch with drawers & alcoves (202 x 147 x 43cm)
Feb 29, 10:00 AM AEDT
French pine buffet and hutch with drawers & alcoves (202 x 147 x 43cm)
by Lawsons
Est: AUD300- AUD500
AUD40013 Bids
PAIR OF DANISH MODERN ROSEWOOD SIDE CABINETS
Feb 27, 6:00 PM PST
PAIR OF DANISH MODERN ROSEWOOD SIDE CABINETS
by O'Gallerie
Est: $200- $300
$45011 Bids
DANISH MID-CENTURY MODERN CABINET ON STAND
Feb 27, 6:00 PM PST
DANISH MID-CENTURY MODERN CABINET ON STAND
by O'Gallerie
Est: $300- $500
$3007 Bids
French Napoleon III Marble Top Meuble d'Appui
Mar 03, 12:00 PM EST
French Napoleon III Marble Top Meuble d'Appui
by Auctions at Showplace
Est: $1,500- $2,500
$3002 Bids
French Louis XV Style Giltwood Vitrine / Curio Cabinet
Mar 09, 10:00 AM EST
French Louis XV Style Giltwood Vitrine / Curio Cabinet
by Premier Auction Galleries
Est: $500- $1,000
$1002 Bids
FLEMISH EBONY & TORTOISE COLLECTOR'S CABINET
Mar 12, 11:15 AM EDT
FLEMISH EBONY & TORTOISE COLLECTOR'S CABINET
by Ashcroft and Moore
Est: $1,000- $10,000
$1102 Bids
Belle Epoque Louis XVI Style Giltwood Vitrine
Mar 03, 12:00 PM EST
Belle Epoque Louis XVI Style Giltwood Vitrine
by Auctions at Showplace
Est: $800- $1,200
$1001 Bid
Klein Normandisch vitrinemeubel in blonde eik met …
Mar 03, 2:00 PM CET
Klein Normandisch vitrinemeubel in blonde eik met …
by DVC
Est: €0- €0
€101 Bid
JENSEN FOR BANG & OLUFSEN ROSEWOOD STEREO CONSOLE
Feb 29, 11:00 AM EST
JENSEN FOR BANG & OLUFSEN ROSEWOOD STEREO CONSOLE
by Westport Auction
Est: $50- $10,000
$501 Bid
AEJM MOBLER DANISH TEAK MEDIA CABINET, C. 1970'S
Feb 27, 11:00 AM EST
AEJM MOBLER DANISH TEAK MEDIA CABINET, C. 1970'S
by Westport Auction
Est: $50- $10,000
$501 Bid
French Style Mahogany Two Door Serving Bar Cabinet with Lift Top
Mar 02, 11:00 AM EST
French Style Mahogany Two Door Serving Bar Cabinet with Lift Top
by Northgate Gallery Auctions
Est: $400- $600
$1001 Bid
Verni Martin Style Tall Painted Vitrine
Mar 09, 10:00 AM EST
Verni Martin Style Tall Painted Vitrine
by Premier Auction Galleries
Est: $200- $400
$501 Bid
An Italian terrestrial globe cocktail trolley/cabinet.
Mar 06, 7:00 PM AEDT
An Italian terrestrial globe cocktail trolley/cabinet.
by Bargain Hunt Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD201 Bid
Borsani Osvaldo (1911-1985) Italian Zodiac Dry Bar
Feb 28, 12:00 PM EST
Borsani Osvaldo (1911-1985) Italian Zodiac Dry Bar
by Hill Auction Gallery
Est: $1,000- $10,000
$5001 Bid
Victorian Diminutive Carved Wood Cabinet
Mar 12, 11:00 AM EDT
Victorian Diminutive Carved Wood Cabinet
by Auctions at Showplace
Est: $300- $500
$1000 Bids
A Napoleon III display cabinet
Feb 28, 10:00 AM CET
A Napoleon III display cabinet
by Ostantix Auctions
Est: €400- €600
€3400 Bids
FRENCH PANETTIERE, WARDROBE
Mar 12, 11:15 AM EDT
FRENCH PANETTIERE, WARDROBE
by Ashcroft and Moore
Est: $1,000- $10,000
$1000 Bids
Repräsentativer Barockschrank des Louis Seize, wohl süddeutsch um 1780
Mar 09, 10:00 AM CET
Repräsentativer Barockschrank des Louis Seize, wohl süddeutsch um 1780
by K&K – Auktionen in Heidelberg
Est: €5,000- €6,000
€1,2000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell European Cabinets


Westport Auction

Westport Auction

Ashcroft and Moore

Ashcroft and Moore

Svendborg Auktionerne ApS

Svendborg Auktionerne ApS

Capitolium Art

Capitolium Art