A wondrous private cabinet of natural curiosities from South Africa, with each item separately labelled against a painted backdrop

A wondrous private cabinet of natural curiosities from South Africa,

with each item separately labelled against a painted backdrop



Circa 1880's





Size: 169cm high x 134cm wide x 41cm deep
In the 18th and 19th centuries the concept of a cabinet of curiosities
began to change and this lead to the separation of naturalia,
artificialia and miribilia into different spaces and eventually into
different museums. In the 1706 illustration of Level Vincent's Natural
History Collection there are portrayed jars of preservative fluid
containing various small animals, frogs, snakes and inset in the middle
of the display a baby's head with the bizarre addition of a lace cap!
This amazing private cabinet of natural curiosities was most probably
made in South Africa and the painted back panel depicts a scene from
that landscape. It is rare that such a cabinet survives complete with
its original installation. It contains 27 jars of preserved natural
specimens from Southern Africa: chameleons, lizards, snakes, giant
centipedes and other insects etc., as well as a few ethnographic items
such as 'kaffir clogs'. Everything is labelled and one glass jar has
the date of 1886 written on it.
For collectors, the object in the cabinet offered a metaphor for the
unknown. This cabinet offers that timeless feeling of strangeness, a
slightly disturbing view of the surreal, which Andre Breton would have
acknowledged and enjoyed.

A wondrous private cabinet of natural curiosities from South Africa, with each item separately labelled against a painted backdrop

Main image

SOLD

ENQUIRIES

+44 (0) 207 689 7500

+44 (0)7836 684133
+44 (0)7768 236921

enquiries@finch-and-co.co.uk

ENQUIRIES

+44 (0) 207 689 7500

+44 (0)7836 684133
+44 (0)7768 236921

enquiries@finch-and-co.co.uk