Boulle Tantalus - This is the more usual form of boulle work in that it is ornate brass inlaid on tortoiseshell.
As mentioned above, boulle work was named for Andre Charles Boulle who brought this elegant look into
favor in the court of Louis XIV at the end of the 17th century. This particular tantalus or liquer cabinet is circa
1830 and was most probably purchased from M. Vernis in Nice, France. The top and the front of this lovely cabinet are tortoise shell while the sides and the back are a dark wood.
There are four Baccarat hand blown and cut crystal decanters as well as sixteen matching crystal glasses.
One of the glasses is a replacement, but a very good one. It is exactly the same size and shape as the original
glasses. The only difference is that it is clear instead of gilded. It is shown in the third picture above, but
placed in the back bottom of the cabinet it is virtually unnoticeable. There are also four silver labels for the
decanters which read: " Rhum, Cognac, Eau De Cerise," and my personal favorite, "Liqueur Pour Dames".
The condition of the set is very good. There are two very small chips in the tortoise shell as well as a few tiny
cracks and one small area where the brass is lifting just a bit. It retains its key and the lock works but it is
quite stiff, so I prefer not to lock it. The cabinet measures 13 1/2" x 10" x 11" high closed and 17 1/2" high
opened. This amazing tantalus is not only beautiful but very dramatic. This is a rare and very special piece.