The Badminton Cabinet, or Badminton Chest, was commissioned by Henry Somerset, 3rd Duke of Beaufort, at the age of 19. It took thirty experts six years to make, and came to be named after the Duke's country seat, Badminton House in Gloucestershire, England, where it remained until it was auctioned by his descendants in the late 20th century.
The ebony cabinet is over 12 feet tall and shows scenes rendered in pietra dura—inlaid finely cut, polished and coloured stones, including in this case a number of semi-precious stones. The clock face set at the top of the cabinet is marked with fleurs-de-lis.
The Badminton Cabinet became the highest-priced piece of furniture in the world when it was auctioned for £8.58m million in 1990, and set the record again when it was auctioned again in December 2004, this time for £19 million.
- Christies: THE BADMINTON CABINET SELLS FOR £19 MILLION / $36 MILLION AT CHRISTIE’S. The Most Expensive Piece of Furniture Ever Sold at Auction … Again!
- "Badminton cabinet's net gain". Washington Post. 2004-12-10. Retrieved 2012-07-28.
- Guardian newspaper: Highest priced furniture sells for £19m, 10 December 2004