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Antique Cabinets - Item 1027
Henri II Cabinet - Salamander Buffet

Item 1027 - Renaissance Cabinet - François I - Salamander

(scroll down for additional photos)
Item 1027 Two-Piece Cabinet with Salamander Motif
Dimensions Width 79, Height 96½, Depth 25½ (in inches)
Wood Solid walnut
Country France
Date Circa 1830

Owing to its massive construction and weight, this antique buffet of solid French walnut likely dates from the late 18th or early 19th century, in a style commonly known as Henri II. The two-piece buffet cabinet (bahut deux corps) has three doors in the top section along with three doors and three drawers in the bottom. The doors lock with the original keys. Rare among pieces of comparable age, this buffet retains its intermediate supports between the top and bottom sections as well as the chair railing on the top. For ease of mobility, it breaks down into these various sections. Visible are numerous Henri II stylistic motifs derived from Gothic and Renaissance design, all intricately carved, such as arabesques, lions heads, palm leaves, and gadrooning.  These reflect the enthusiasm in the 19th century for styles of the Middle Ages and Renaissance (haute époque) as re-interpreted during the Victorian Age in England and the reign of Louis Philippe in France (also known as Gothic Revival).  The intricately carved doors on the bottom are reminiscent of patterns from books of engravings published in the 17th century. Most notable on the central door of the upper section is a magnificently carved salamander – royal symbol of France’s François I and closely associated with the royal château at Blois in the Loire Valley (see the carved emblem below the close-up of the door panel, further down on this page). According to conventional wisdom at the time, the salamander could be thrown into a fire and emerge unscathed, hence it was adopted by the king as a symbol of invincibility and rendered by sculptors, as on the buffet, to be a creature of prodigious strength and ferocity rather than the diminutive lizard we encounter in our gardens. Unfortunately, this central door has experienced some warping, but will be repaired prior to shipment to the buyer.  For other pieces with the lion’s head motif, see boiserie cabinet 1015 and buffet cabinet 9440.


Boccador, Jacqueline, Le Mobilier Français du Moyen Age à la Renaissance, (Editions d’Art Monelle Hayot, Saint-Just-en-Chaussée, 1988)
Thirion, Jacques, Le Mobilier du Moyen Age et de la Renaissance en France (Editions Faton, Dijon, 1998)


The buffet cabinet is best suited to a large kitchen or dining room where it can be used for displaying and serving food and for storing items.

1027-lion 1027-hardware
1027-bottom central panel



Carved Salamander from the Chateau at Blois - Loire Valley


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