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Camille Gauthier “Capucines” Games Table

This Camille Gauthier “Capucines” Games Table was an Art Nouveau take on the 18th-century Turret-top card table, popular across the courts of Europe and their colonies. Their form was based on the floor plan of a medieval castle, a square with a turret on each corner. Turrets were used to provide defensive positions in the days of military fortification but evolved to serve decorative functions as their military use faded. A player would sit at each corner of the table, with their hands resting on each turret. Four arms splay from each table leg, supporting each turret The table’s skirt is formed of a pierced carving, with both the skirt and marquetry depicting Nasturtiums. Originally a medicinal and edible plant, Nasturtiums were popularized by their use in Louis XIV’s flowerbeds at Versailles. Monet let large swaths ramble along the paths at Giverny, making it one of the most recognizable motifs of his early work. The marquetry is comprised of thuya burl, the world’s most expensive veneer, used by Roman woodworkers for temples in Biblical times. Prized by Baroque/Rococo cabinet makers, thuya featured heavily in chateau furniture.

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  • Curator's Notes

Item #: F-20898
Artist: Camille Gauthier
Country: France
Circa: 1900
Dimensions: 29.375"height, 34.75" width, 34.75" deep
Materials: Mahogany, Thuya, Pallisander
Signed: C Gauthier Nancy

Nasturtiums were commonly known in Europe as Indian Cress or a translation of “Capucine cress”, in reference to the flower shape, which resembles Capucine monks’ hooded robes. Leaves of both species were eaten in salads; unripe seeds and flower buds were pickled and served as a substitute for capers.