Cherish an Antique Day - Come see the UP Museum's very own Narnia Wardrobe

Posted on March 28, 2018

9 April 2018- Cherish an Antique Day




The University of Pretoria Museums have under their curatorship a fascinating collection of historical furniture. This collection remains unresearched and has immense potential for studies on European furniture prior to the 19th century. Cherish an Antique Day on the 9 April 2018 is celebrated worldwide to appreciate unique objects that are timeless (at least 100 years old) when quality and craftsmanship were most valued and appreciated for their beauty. The idea of marking this day, is to salute past artistry and create a greater awareness of the type of aesthetic appeal of objet d’art and antiques from the past that withstand the test of time.

The UP Museums are inviting everyone with an interest in antiques to visit the museums during the month of April to celebrate some unique and rare objects of antiquity with very special attention to the Dutch cupboard nicknamed the “Narnia Wardrobe”. This Dutch Baroque Kussenkast or pillow cabinet was used for storing linen, also has a series of secret compartments, and hidden opening mechanisms complete with carved mythical lions above the door opening, to ward off those who wish to try find a way to open it and to unfold a fascinating history.

This monumentally large carved rosewood, oak and ebony cupboard dates from the second half of the 17th century with an overhanging cornice with a central lion and other lion figures at the angles above heavy raised doors with a central panel and a masked key hole. The interior is enclosed with secret compartments, shelves, and drawers. The cabinet is flanked and divided by pilasters with Corinthian capitals or columns and two long drawers below, seated on four large large ball feet.

During the 17th century, secure storage and safes were considered expensive items and so Dutch furniture manufacturers created everyday furniture with masked locks and hidden compartments to keep objects of value such as jewellery, money, tea, porcelain or other high valued fine or imported items well-hidden.

The University of Pretoria Museums invite staff and students to come visit the “Narnia Wardrobe” and experience the fantasy of historical furniture in an attempt to search for the missing key hole, find secret compartments and perhaps other hidden treasures on this historical and valued antique.

For more information please email, [email protected] or Tel: 012 420 2178 for an appointment to see this exciting and interesting antique visit the UP Museums in the Old Arts Building, World of Ceramics Museum, van Tilburg Art gallery, Mon-Fri 08:00 -16:00, entrance free of charge.

- Author Sian Tiley-Nel
Published by Nicole Hoffmann

Copyright © University of Pretoria 2020. All rights reserved.

FAQ's Email Us Virtual Campus Share Cookie Preferences