3rd Day of Christmas

Three French Hens

This is known as the Warwick cabinet but it’s not used as a cabinet. It was set on an English base to display the stunning French marquetry which dates from 1690 and is the work of André-Charles Boulle, perhaps the greatest cabinet-maker of all time. He was born in Paris and such was his skill, he was given royal protection and a workshop at the Louvre where he made furniture for Louis XIV.

It was probably brought to England by Francis Fulke Greville, the 8th Baron and 1st Earl of Warwick, and is first recorded at his home, Warwick Castle in 1810.

This panel is a masterpiece of his early floral marquetry. On the left hand scroll perches a cockerel, honeysuckle in mouth; on the right, a hen defends her three chicks from a spaniel emerging from behind a pedestal.

In the carol, the three French hens are said to represent Faith, Hope and Love. It looks like the third hen got chased by the eager dog on this exquisite panel.


What is the cabinet called?

Warwick Waddington Wakefield

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