THE HONOLULU CABINET queen liliuokalani antique english arts & crafts furniture For Sale
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THE HONOLULU CABINET queen liliuokalani antique english arts & crafts furniture:
HOUSE OF KALAKAUALiliuokalani's Music CabinetThemetalwork tells the story ofher overthrow & tower imprisonment, her commitment to Hawaii's children and her Aloha 'Oe.ALOHA 'OE was composed on guitar in 1878. It is Liliuokalani's most famous work and the last line of that songis displayed on the cabinet's face. The crowned bird (the queen) delighting to"na pua rose" a.k.a. 'the children of Hawai'i',is the summation of the song. It's the most famous sentenceshe ever wrote and it becameher life's mission.In 1917, nearly a half-centuryafter penning those words and never wavering from hermission, the steadfast queengiftedher entireestate to "na pua rose", thechildren of Hawaii.
The "SHE"on the cabinet's backboardspecifically refers toa musically-gifted female monarch froma faraway island kingdom. SHE wasrobbed of her throne and imprisoned in the tower of a royal palace. Shakespeare's singing Lady Mortimeris a true historic figure: Princess Catrin Glyndŵr of Wales. Catrin was famously locked away in the Tower of London where she lost her life in 1413. Suffering further humiliation, before their overthrows and tower imprisonments, both, Catrin & Liliuokalani, were publicly shamed and uniquely labeled "barefooted" by their political adversaries.
Thecabinet was crafted in the United Kingdom and the detective work pointsto Buckingham Palace. Windsor Castleandthe Museum of Barnstaple andNorth Devonhave provided a paper trail suggesting (but not confirming) that Queen Victoria was the gifter. Adding to the regality of the piece, the cabinetmaker, William Cowie of Shapland & Petter, imbedded King Henry's name into thebackboard.The2nd photoin our series above isa copy ofCowie's original HENRY IVsketch as provided by the Government of Great Britain.
Liliuokalani'slove ofShakespeare is well-documented. She even quotes him in her autobiography, "HAWAII'S STORY BY HAWAII'S QUEEN". A recommended readis,"Shakespeare and the Ali'i Nui" by Professor Theresa M.DiPasquale of Whitman College. It was published by the University of Georgia andisfree online, the PDF version is best. Note the HENRY IV references just above the concludingLunalilo-Liliuokalani section.
Confirming ownership: attached to the cabinetis ahandwritten document from Queen Liliuokalani. Shewrote her 24+ words on the six bone tiles foundwithinthe cabinet. Our comparison P sample(last photo in our series above) came from her 1895 letter to President Cleveland. Of special note, the ink spot on both P's where she first forms the letter.
When we came across a copy of one of her handwrittenmusical scores where she had replaced P's with musical notes. At-the-time we thought it was cute but we hadn't yet realized that the faintP's on the cabinet tiles were musical notes so we didn't make a copy of that document. We now live in the U.S. mainland and no longer have access to those State archive files. So, if you live in Honolulu and want to help further the research, that document does exist. It was on the middle/bottom half of the last page of one of her scores. She had writtena three word phrase and all threewords began with P. She then scribbled heavily over the P's changing them into musical notes. Our impression was that this was the first time she had changed P's to musical notes (creative, she was experimenting). Finding that musical score would be of great importance. It would confirm she used musical notes as P's and possibly better date the cabinet.
Queen Victoria's reign began in 1837 as the Royal Houses of Kamehameha& Kalakauafell victim to Hawaii's mass extinction. Iolani Palace's next ruler was to be "Queen Victoria" but in 1899 the half-ScotPrincess Victoria-Kaiulani Cleghorn would also loseher life. Liliuokalani became the House of Kalakaua's sole-survivor. She entered the 20th century alone, passing away in 1917.By 1918 both Iolani Palace and Washington Placewere publicly controlled U.S. buildings and Liliuokalani's music cabinetwas moved nextdoorto thestill-private estateofhersister, Princess Likelike (lee-kee-lee-kee), d. 1887.Also the birth site of Princess Victoria-Kaiulani, The Peacock Princess, the cabinet remained hiddenonthose sacred groundsfor the next century as Honolulu'sbest keptsecret.'Princess' Liliuokalani was the conductor of a traveling competitive show choir (GLEE!) and in her memoirs she tells a humorous story about always losing to her younger brother's all male choir (The Warblers!). We believe she sharedthis same lighthearted storywith Queen Victoria when she dined withher at Buckingham Palace in 1887.
Queen Victoria's gift of choice to foreign leaders was practical, well-thought-out "diplomatic furniture".Though, almost certainly crafted for purely ornamental use, what we have here is a traveling choir conductor's podium: a gift from Queen Victoria: the result ofthat 1887 dinner party. ~ And because the cabinet refers to a tower imprisonment does not necessarily mean itwas given to her after the overthrow.It could very-well have been an 1891 Gift of Ascension. Liliuokalani wasa Shakespearean expert. Was the artwork a secret message from Queen Victoria? Did Liliuokalani outwit her captors and finagle her way INTO that tower prison asa political ploy?!The photo above is ofthe imprisonedqueen ascending the towersteps. It was published in newspapers around the World and garnished her great sympathy. Supportingthe 1891 Gift of Ascension theory: while locked in the tower, Liliuokalani writes that her home was ransacked by the overthrowers, her furniture torn apart as theysearched fortreasonous documents. This cabinet, fromthe foreign entity alsocompeting for the Islands,has two placeswhere documents could have been hidden. Both sections have been ripped open and hastily repaired. As described by the queen, this cabinet was searched for hidden documents.
But we can only speculate: How& when she acquired the cabinet and how & when it left her estate isstill not known to us. Victoria could have read the 1895 tower prison story in the newspaper along with the rest of the Worldand had it commissioned at that time.
In May of 1899, about 60 days after thedeath of Hawaii's Crown Princess Victoria,Queen Victoriaentered an odd &mysterious payment in her gift ledger for gift furniture to aShapland & Petter associate (Gillow's, a royal warrant holder who secretly commissioned work from S&P). Windsor Castle believes that if the cabinetwas commissioned byVictoria thatthe 1899 entry supportsthe attribution. And it'sour understanding that the 1899 entry is the only unaccounted-for piece of Queen Victoria's gifted furniture. And again,Victorianoted that paymentsixty days after the death of ThePeacock Princess. Kaiulani was also knownas "Hawaii's last hope" and Aloha 'Oe means "farewell to thee". Withthe deathof "Hawaii's (half Scot) last hope" the United Kingdom ended its vie for the islands. Wasthe cabineta farewell gift ofcondolence?
Hawaii's Story by Hawaii's Queen was published in 1898 andLiliuokalani does not mention this cabinet in that book. If from Queen Victoria, she almost certainly would-have which supports the May of 1899 Windsor Castle gift theory (she received the cabinet after her book was published). Researching this artifact has been difficult because in1901 Victoria ordered all references and/or communications between Her and Liliuokalani be destroyed (for Liliuokalani's protection). By 1899 Victoria would have already startedhiding & destroyingconnections between her & Liliuokalani whichis consistent withthemysterious Windsor Castle gift notation. Victoria only noted the price paid tothe Shapland & Petter associate. She did not describe the furniture, nor did shesay who it was for (Liliuokalani was well-published, arenownedmusician and"Music cabinet" could have identifiedthe recipient). Victoria's gift ledger was a diary of sorts and, with the exception ofthat one piece of 1899 gift furniture,she had always described the furniture and named the giftee(1837-1901) .Never beforehas a piece of Queen Victoria's "Diplomatic Furniture" been offered up for sale. The discovery is re-writing the history of The Overthrow. On a par with The Resolute Desk, the queen's consoleis unfolding asone of the most important discoveries in all of British, American and Hawaiian history. The piecehas since been shipped toSeattle, Washington.
It's been a little over a decade sincethis monarchypiececame out of hiding. Since that time we have located at least six copies (or variations), one as far away as South Africa. Coincidently, there arealso at least six copies of The Resolute Desk.
And be sure tovisit our store where we are currently offering several other hugely important and historically significant pieces of Art. The first man to the moon's 1st appearance in Space,a five pound sterling silver "Bug Basket" from Buckingham Palace, an artifact from The White House and Porcellian Club (the birthplace of Facebook), and an 1885 New York City "Sitting Bull" Cigar Store Indian are but a few of our most interesting pieces.
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