Hispano-Moresque Vargueña Taquillón, ca. 1760

Value (2016) | $10,000 Insurance$15,000 Insurance
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APPRAISER:
You've brought this magnificent Hispano-Moresque vargueño taquillón. Where did you get this?

GUEST:
Actually, I got it in an auction here in Norfolk, Virginia. And it actually originally came two owners ago from an estate in England. It was a vice president for Liberty's of London, the fabric design house. It passed to his daughter, who brought it to the United States. Then when her stuff was auctioned, I picked it up at the auction.

APPRAISER:
Mm-hmm. Well, you showed me some brochures, which actually showed this vargueño in a home in England.

GUEST:
It was in a house in the 1500s. I also have a set of dining room chairs.

APPRAISER:
Yes.

GUEST:
That came from the same house. And I have, like, old pictures of this vargueño with the chairs.

APPRAISER:
Yes. Well, actually when you read the brochure carefully, it was a reproduction house of a style of the 15th century.

GUEST:
Really, okay.

APPRAISER:
Yes, and I think that initially these are really desks, writing desks made in Spain. They were popular in the 15th century, 16th century, 17th century, 18th century. Really for 400 years they were making these desks very popular.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
I think what we have here is an 18th century example. One of the reasons is that there is more narrow wood in this than the earlier Renaissance style when we look at the drawers. When I call it Hispano, obviously that's Spain.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
But then we go to Moresque, and that's the decoration on it. So let's look at the whole piece together. We're going to unlock it and show the writing surface that you would use.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
So we're going to open here. And it's all locked up. The Spanish…

GUEST:
Yes?

APPRAISER:
…were fantastic with their lock boxes. So if you could help me? This would have been your fold-down writing surface, which has amazing tooled leather on it. Very beautiful. And then all of these cubby holes. So you can see the iron would have locked it up, you could have kept your important papers in here.

GUEST:
Uh-huh.

APPRAISER:
You could have kept your jewelry, money. It also has handles on the side so that it's able to be carried around. I also called it a taquillón, and that's the base section.

GUEST:
Oh, okay.

APPRAISER:
That's a chest of drawers that these vargueños, these desks sat upon.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
I think we have a lot of restoration on this piece. And I think that the hint that this was in a reproduction house in England says to me that when it was purchased, it was put into a home. It had been sort of gussied up, if you will.

GUEST:
Uh-huh.

APPRAISER:
Much of the gilding has been restored on it.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
And also some of the cabinetry itself on the base when I looked carefully.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
I feel as though these bun feet, the green bun feet, are probably an add-on.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
When you look carefully at the post going down into the feet, you see that there's restoration above it. It's just not really the way you'd like to see it. Do you notice the colors that are on this -- red, green and white sections? Those are painted. I would have expected if that had been a Renaissance piece we would have seen inlay work.

GUEST:
Uh-huh.

APPRAISER:
But in fact these are painted.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
They almost look like arabesque letters to me.

GUEST:
I was... okay, I was wondering what they were.

APPRAISER:
So that's why I call it Moresque as well.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
A piece like this was made for that market and that style in Spain in the 18th century.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
So a period piece, certainly 18th century, a lot of restoration work. It's hard to pinpoint it as a sales price, but I would say for insurance, I would probably insure this in the $10,000 to $15,000 range.

GUEST:
Okay, great. Wow.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Skinner, Inc.
Boston, MA
Appraised value (2016)
$10,000 Insurance$15,000 Insurance
Event
Virginia Beach, VA (June 25, 2016)
Category
Furniture

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