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Table Cabinet (Contador)

Decorative Arts

Colonial Spanish American rooms often contained two or three stacked cabinets and writing desks like the ones seen here. Bufetes, or side tables, sometimes draped with velvet covers with gold fringes and tassels, would serve as bases for these towers of luxury. A religious image or a precious object such as an ivory sculpture would crown the furniture.

The vertical arrangement of elite objects in Spanish and Spanish American reception rooms is documented in both Baroque prints and colonial American inventories. The 1710 Lima inventory of the estate of the wealthy Spanish viceroy of Peru, the marquis de Castelldosrius, lists “two desks covered with tortoise shell, ivory, and mother-of-pearl with two other similar, but smaller, desks and their two side tables with two borders of the same.”


El mobiliario en las habitaciones coloniales hispanoamericanas frecuentemente incluía dos o tres gabinetes o escritorios apilados uno sobre otro, como se aprecia aquí. Bufetes o mesas laterales, a veces con cubiertas de terciopelo adornadas con flecos y borlas de oro, servían como base para estas torres de lujo. Una imagen religiosa u otro objeto precioso como una escultura de marfil coronaba la composición.

El arreglo vertical de objetos de lujo en las salas de recepción en España y en Hispanoamérica se documenta tanto en algunos grabados barrocos como en numerosos inventarios coloniales americanos. El inventario de 1710 del acaudalado virrey español del Perú, el marqués de Castelldosrius, en Lima, cataloga “dos escritorios cubiertos de carey, marfil y madreperla con otros escritorios similares más pequeños y sus dos mesas laterales con dos bordes iguales.”

MEDIUM Wood, bone, ivory, tortoiseshell, and metal (with modern feet)
DATES mid 17th century
DIMENSIONS 13 3/4 x 27 x 11 1/2 in. (34.9 x 68.6 x 29.2 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Decorative Arts
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
ACCESSION NUMBER 48.206.92
CREDIT LINE Frank L. Babbott Fund, Frank Sherman Benson Fund, Carll H. de Silver Fund, A. Augustus Healy Fund, Caroline A.L. Pratt Fund, Charles Stewart Smith Memorial Fund, and Ella C. Woodward Memorial Fund
RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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CAPTION Table Cabinet (Contador), mid 17th century. Wood, bone, ivory, tortoiseshell, and metal (with modern feet), 13 3/4 x 27 x 11 1/2 in. (34.9 x 68.6 x 29.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Frank L. Babbott Fund, Frank Sherman Benson Fund, Carll H. de Silver Fund, A. Augustus Healy Fund, Caroline A.L. Pratt Fund, Charles Stewart Smith Memorial Fund, and Ella C. Woodward Memorial Fund, 48.206.92. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 53.11.8_48.206.92_EL95.08_PS6.jpg)
IMAGE group, 53.11.8_48.206.92_EL95.08_PS6.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2012
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
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 <em>Table Cabinet (Contador)</em>, mid 17th century. Wood, bone, ivory, tortoiseshell, and metal (with modern feet), 13 3/4 x 27 x 11 1/2 in. (34.9 x 68.6 x 29.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Frank L. Babbott Fund, Frank Sherman Benson Fund, Carll H. de Silver Fund, A. Augustus Healy Fund, Caroline A.L. Pratt Fund, Charles Stewart Smith Memorial Fund, and Ella C. Woodward Memorial Fund, 48.206.92. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 53.11.8_48.206.92_EL95.08_PS6.jpg)