Cabinet / Bargueño
Dating: 17th century (?)
Material: Wood (Walnut), Metal & Ivory
Dimensions (cm): 73,5 x 118,3 x 41,8
Inv. no.: PD0401
Cabinets are mobile offices that were used to store documents and other valuable, small, personal objects.
There were several adaptions to the design over time, adjusting them to the demands, fashions and tastes of each period.
The Arabs introduced the Bargueños during their occupation of the Iberian Peninsula. The Bargueño – as a Spanish Cabinet was called – reached its peak during the 16th and 17th centuries.
Cabinets are composed of two parts. The upper body works as an office. A table top protects the drawers when it is closed but, when open, it could be used as a surface for writing.
The handles on the sides facilitated the transportation.
The inside, which is heavily decorated, contrasts with the more austere decoration on the outside.
The origin and true meaning of the word ‘bargueño’ is unknown. Traditionally, the origin of the name is attributed to the people of Bargas (Toledo), supposedly the main producer of this type of furniture; or to a prestigious Cabinet-maker from Toledo called Vargas. However, the term ‘Bargueño’ was used for the first time in 1872, in the Catalogue of Spanish Artistic Objects from the Victoria and Albert Museum, and was admitted by to the Royal Academy of Language in 1914.