While cupboards from the Elizabethan era occasionally come onto the market, this one comes from the reign of Henry VIII. Measuring 4ft 5in (1.37m) wide by 4ft (1.2m) high and dated to c.1520-40, it was offered in Bonhams’ recent Oak Interior sale in New Bond Street.
It features an arrangement of two central drawers with two cupboards over and a third below. Late 15th or early 16th century cupboards seldom feature drawers at all and other extant examples have more elaborate carved decoration.
However, in this relatively plain, near square example with its simple lozenge- carved panels, the sophistication is all on the inside.
Each drawer is supported, not just by the frame, but by grooved runners. This refinement allows for their smooth operation.
The cabinet was also, said specialist David Houlston, “in very good condition” and had provenance to John and Judith Adler, “a very famous collection” sold by Sotheby’s in 2005.
On that occasion it realised £24,000. This time around it came with a more substantial £50,000-80,000 guide, a level which it matched on the day selling for a hammer price of £60,000 to an English collector.
Two other lots, a rare Elizabeth I oak bedstead from Cumbria and a 16th century painted and parcel- gilt Italian-made walnut chest, had been billed to exceed this in price but with both failing to sell, the livery cupboard provided the top price of the 373-lot auction.
The sale took place on September 28 and the buyer’s premium was 25/20/12%.