The Biennais Medal Cabinet
- What:Free talks & tours
- Where:Meeting Point, Grand Entrance
GALLERY TALK: Tessa Murdoch will introduce the Napoleonic medal cabinet currently on display in the Whiteley Silver Galleries. A campaign to acquire this masterpiece for the new European Galleries is well underway.
Perhaps the finest piece of French Empire furniture in Britain today, it is a superlative example of the Egyptian taste that was fashionable throughout Europe in the period 1800-1815. Newly minted medals, of the sort this cabinet would have stored, were a significant element of Napoleon’s propaganda.
The silver mounts were made by the firm Martin Guillaume Biennais, whose signature is engraved on the lockplate and who supplied the cabinet to the Imperial family. The cabinet’s architectural form and craftsmanship are striking, and the few works by Biennais in Britain are limited to smaller travelling sets.
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