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Hildebrand, —, temporarily in London, ‘Proprietor and Maker of the most Magnificent Cabinet in the World’. A notice, c. 1780, advertised the spectacle of his extraordinary cabinet at ‘Mr. Jerom Johnson's, Cut-Glass Warehouse, opposite the “Black-Bear, Piccadilly”’, one shilling admittance. The cabinet, ‘properly adapted for the Dressing-Room of a Princess’, was inlaid with ‘many hundred thousand Pieces of Wood of various Colours’ representing ‘Landscapes, Huntings, Ruins of “Roman” Temples, intermix'd with the Figures of various Animals … The Outside represents a Bureau of an half oval Form of Walnut-tree, adorned with gilt Borders and other Ornaments, inlaid with different Sorts of Metal, Mother of Pearl, Ivory, and Wood of various Colours, in a Manner which surpasses the Imagination, representing whole Hunting-matches, Men, Animals, Flowers, Perspectives, Prospects, &c. so like and lively as Nature itself …’. The cabinet contained a total of one hundred and six drawers of different sizes, some of which ‘come out as if it were by playing on a Harpsichord’; and many doors which opened onto various secret moving compartments achieving novel effects, such as the disappearance and re-appearance of objects placed within. The cabinet, claimed Mr Hildebrand, was acknowledged to be ‘the most exquisite Piece of Art ever Seen’ by ‘The Greatest Connoisseurs who have travelled throughout Europe …’. [GL, trade card coll.]

The original entry from Dictionary of English Furniture Makers, 1660-1840 can be found at British History Online.