Cassone – the marriage chest

Pair of marriage chests: The Morelli Chest

A cassone is a big decorated chest that was made in Italy between the 14th and 16th centuries. Weddings have always been a time to spend a lot of money. Rich men who were going to be husbands in a Florentine society ordered a pair of beautifully decorated marriage chests. Cassoni is what people in Italy call these chests.

In the past, the cassoni was carried through the streets by the newlyweds and the groom’s family from the bride’s family home to her new home. Cassoni were put on display in the most important and well-furnished room in the palace. They held her dowry of linens and fine clothes. In 1472, a wealthy Florentine merchant named Lorenzo Morelli married a young noblewoman named Vaggia Nerli.

This pair is a celebration of that event. On each corner of each chest, the coats of arms of both families are shown.

These cassoni are one of a kind because they are the only ones that have stayed together as a pair and kept their original backs. They are decorated with small scenes framed by curtains that look like they are made of silk with lots of patterns. A luxury import from the Islamic Mediterranean, these fabrics are also hinted at inside the painted lid, which is a reminder of what’s inside the chests.

Sources

Campbell, G. (2006). The Grove Encyclopedia of decorative arts. Oxford University Press.

“Pair of Marriage Chests: The Morelli Chest – Biagio Di Antonio, Jacopo Del Sellaio and Zanobi Di Domenico – Google Arts and Culture.” Google Arts & Culture, artsandculture.google.com/asset/6gGfsK3yA3kTTw?childAssetId=wQFa-JplJ5qqMA. Accessed 22 Sept. 2022.

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    Kisho Kurokawa (b.1934) Japanese Architect and Furniture Designer

    In 1960, at the age of 26, he made his debut into the world as one of the founders of the Metabolism Movement.  Read More →

  • Margareta Aberg (b.1929) Swedish Designer

    Margareta Aberg (b.1929) Swedish Designer

    In 1956, she opened her own architecture studio with her husband Rolf Aberg; designed the Salabim cupboard of 1986 produced by Swedfun (Sweden). She specialized in interior architecture and designed hospitals, hotels, and schools including the Bracke Osterjard Hospital, Gothenburg, for handicapped children.Read More →

  • Mart Stam (1899 – 1986) Dutch architect and designer

    Mart Stam (1899 – 1986) Dutch architect and designer

    His design approach has been categorised as New Objectivity, a counter-movement and outgrowth of Expressionism that emerged during the Great Depression in Germany in the 1920s.Read More →

  • Danielle Quarante ( b.1938 ) French Furniture Designer

    Danielle Quarante ( b.1938 ) French Furniture Designer

    She began her professional career as a graphic designer, specialising in exhibition design. In 1966 she worked on product design (children’s furniture, hi-fi systems).Read More →

  • Emeco American Designer Furniture

    Emeco American Designer Furniture

    Wilton C. Dinges founded the Electric Machine and Equipment Company (Emeco) in 1944 with $300 in savings and a used lathe for machine work. He started bidding on government manufacturing contracts out of a loft in Baltimore, Maryland, beginning with experimental antennas and jet engine parts. Read More →

  • Emeco and Naoto Fukasawa introduce “Za”

    Emeco and Naoto Fukasawa introduce “Za”

    The name “Za” was chosen by Naoto Fukasawa, an industrial designer from Tokyo, and it means “a place to sit” in Japanese. It is a term that alludes to the multi-functionality of a simple stool that can be used anywhere, indoors and outdoors, an object that people will intuitively choose to sit on.Read More →

  • Preben Fabricis (1931 – 1984) Danish furniture and interior designer

    Preben Fabricis (1931 – 1984) Danish furniture and interior designer

    In 1952, he worked as a cabinetmaker for Finn Juhl, designing chairs for the United Nations headquarters in New York. He was a collaborator with Jørgen Kasthol from 1962 to 1970. He taught furniture design at Skolen for Boligindretning since 1967. In 1968, he opened his own officRead More →

  • Johnson Chou Canadian Designer and Architect

    Johnson Chou Canadian Designer and Architect

    It was through the Gallery that Chou’s emerging practise of design developed. For its minimalist style and transformational architectural ideas, his design for the spare, but the multi-functional gallery was recognised. The first projects by Chou were the homes and offices of Archive art patrons.Read More →

  • Tulip Armchair by Eero Saarinen (1957)

    Tulip Armchair by Eero Saarinen (1957)

    Saarinen faced the problem of trying to treat the leg structurally and visually as part of the reinforced-plastic moulded seat shell with the help of a research team from the Knoll firm led by Donald Petit. This issue had plagued him since he and Charles Eames conducted their first experiments with moulded seat shells.Read More →

  • Nanna Ditzel (1923 – 2005) Danish architect and furniture designer

    Nanna Ditzel (1923 – 2005) Danish architect and furniture designer

    Nanna Ditzel, a leading Danish 20th-century designer, had also worked in furniture, textiles and jewellery design for many decades and has been one of the few women designers in the country to achieve celebrity status.Read More →

  • Andrea Branzi (b.1938) Italian furniture designer

    Andrea Branzi (b.1938) Italian furniture designer

    His theoretical furniture is well-known. He formed Archizoom Associati, an avant-garde group in Florence, in 1966 (with Paolo Deganello and others) that brought the irony of 1960s Anti-Design to furniture design.Read More →

  • Bloemenwerf Side Chair (1895) designed by Henry de Velde

    Bloemenwerf Side Chair (1895) designed by Henry de Velde

    Bloemenwerf, Henry Van de Velde’s property outside Brussels, is the inspiration for this chair. Van de Velde planned and built the house and the interior—from the furniture to the wallpaper—resulting in a holistic design that exemplified the concept of a Gesamtkunstwerk “total work of art”. Read More →

  • Dakota Jackson (b.1950) American furniture designer

    Dakota Jackson (b.1950) American furniture designer

    Dakota Jackson is an American furniture designer best known for his Dakota Jackson furniture line. He was a magician’s son, and by the time he was six, he became a professional magician. He performed in public until his early 20s.Read More →

  • Thomas Molesworth (1890 – 1977) an American furniture designer

    Thomas Molesworth (1890 – 1977) an American furniture designer

    Molesworth ranch style furniture has inspired contemporary Western furniture designers such as Jim Covert, Jeff Morris and Marc Tagesger with its large brass pads, Native American motifs and wildfire imagery.Read More →

  • Perttu Mentula (b.1936) Finnish architect & Interior Designers

    Perttu Mentula (b.1936) Finnish architect & Interior Designers

    Perttu Mentula (b.1936) was a Finnish architect and interior, exhibition, product, graphic, and furniture designer.Read More →

  • Javier Mariscal (b.1950) Spanish designer and Graphic Artist

    Javier Mariscal (b.1950) Spanish designer and Graphic Artist

    Javier Mariscal is a Spanish designer. He was born in Valencia. He is professionally active in Barcelona. He studied at the Escuela de Grafismo Elisava, Barcelona, to 1971.Read More →

  • Kwok Hoi Chan (1939 – 1987) Chinese architect and interior designer

    Kwok Hoi Chan  (1939 – 1987) Chinese architect and interior designer

    Interior design projects included furniture for Air India and the IBM offices in Hong Kong. 1966-68, Chan worked in a design studio, London, contributing to the interiors of the ocean liner Queen Elizabeth II. He subsequently, designed for Spectrum, the Netherlands. Read More →

  • Handlebar Table (1982) by Jasper Morrison

    Handlebar Table (1982) by Jasper Morrison

    The Handlebar Table (1982) was a table with aluminium handlebars, chrome steel connectors, beechwood support and plate glass top.Read More →

  • Chair No.14, 1855 by Michael Thonet

    Chair No.14, 1855 by Michael Thonet

    Bentwood furniture was not invented by Michael Thonet (1798-1871), but he perfected a method for mass production. In 1819, in Boppard, Germany, he opened his cabinetmaking business, and by 1840 he had invented the steam-softening technique for bending rods of hardwood into flowing yet structurally solid shapes. There are just six sections and screws in his all-time classic, Model No.14. Read More →

  • Eugene Schoen (1880 – 1957) was an American architect and designer

    Eugene Schoen (1880 – 1957) was an American architect and designer

    He set up his architecture practice in New York in 1905 and, after visiting the 1925 Paris ‘Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes.’ He began offering interior design services. In 1931, he became a professor of interior architecture at New York University. He sold his own and imported textiles and furniture and Maurice Heaton’s glassware in the gallery he established.Read More →

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