Justly described in the Art Fund's Annual Report for 1979 as of 'unrivalled quality', this marquetry panel possibly once served as a table top, and is the finest known work attributed to the distinguished French cabinet maker, André-Charles Boulle.

Around 1770 it was incorporated into a cabinet, possibly by the firm of William Ince and John Mayhew, which may have been made specifically to display this panel. The cabinet is first recorded at Warwick Castle in 1810-11 and was sold from there in the 1960s. In 1979 it was due to be exported to the Getty Museum when its export license was deferred, allowing a museum in Britain to raise the funding. The combination of French and English workmanship made it a natural choice of acquisition for the Bowes Museum in County Durham, created by the Francophile John Bowes (1811-85) and his French wife, Joséphine (1825-74), and designed to resemble a French château.


The Earls of Warwick, Warwick Castle; Mrs A C Hardy.

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