Gerrit Jensen’s Anglo-Dutch Style Makes Waves

On 19 February 2021, by Anne Doridou-Heim

The 17th-century Anglo-Dutch cabinetmaker’s appealing decor recalls seaweed.

Attributed to Gerrit Jensen (1667-1715), mahogany and rosewood veneer cabinet, hard stone, paesine, gilt bronze, gilt and blackened wood, English Regency period legs c. 1830, 176 x 140 x 49.6 cm (69.29 x 55.11 x 19.52 in).
Result: €152,100

English “seaweed” marquetry is traditionally associated with Dutch and Flemish cabinetmakers working in the second half of the 17th century, especially Gerrit Jensen (1667-1715). The reason is simple. When Prince William of Orange became England’s king in 1689 as William III, he brought his cabinetmakers with him. Others followed due to religious persecution on the continent. during William and Mary’s reign (until 1702) they created an unusual style that continued under Queen Anne.

The furniture had Dutch forms but smaller dimensions to keep up with changing tastes—although this piece is still rather imposing. Above all, it featured unusual marquetry featuring free arabesques, known as "seaweed" because it resembled fronds of the algae. Associated with hardstones and paesine, it was used in this highly original furniture, contemporary with the work of André-Charles Boulle and Pierre Gole.

This cabinet has a gilded carved wooden base with four claw legs and acanthus leaf scrolls and a front section featuring shells and palmettes based on work by architect William Kent (1684-1748). As a handsome piece, it fetched €152,100.

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