Badminton cabinet

The Badminton Cabinet is a monumental piece of 18th-century furniture that twice set the record for most expensive piece of furniture ever sold.[2][3]

Badminton Cabinet
DesignerGrand Ducal workshops
Made inFlorence, Italy
Sold byChristie's Auction House, London,
9 December 2004
£19,045,250 ($36,662,106)[1]
Height386 cm (151.5 in)
Width232.5 cm (91.25 in)
CollectionBadminton House, Gloucestershire, England (1732-1990)
Barbara Piasecka Johnson, Princeton, New Jersey (1990-2004)
Liechtenstein Museum, Vienna, Austria (2004-present)

The Badminton Cabinet, or Badminton Chest, was commissioned in 1726 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 386 cm (152 in) tall and 232.5 cm (91.5 in)[4] wide 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, flanked by two gilded statues, and surmounted with a coat of arms. Below that is a parapet set with pietra dura lozenges. Three horizontal sections with inlaid drawers surround a central cupboard. The cabinet rests on eight inlaid pilasters.

The Badminton Cabinet became the highest-priced piece of furniture in the world when it was auctioned for £8.58m million in 1990. It again set the record when it was auctioned in December 2004, this time for £19 million.[5][6]


  1. ^ World record for a piece of furniture.
  2. ^ Christies: THE BADMINTON CABINET SELLS FOR £19 MILLION / $36 MILLION AT CHRISTIE’S. The Most Expensive Piece of Furniture Ever Sold at Auction … Again!, 9 December 2004.
  3. ^ "Badminton cabinet's net gain". The Washington Post. 2004-12-10. Retrieved 2012-07-28.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Guardian newspaper: Highest priced furniture sells for £19m, 10 December 2004
  6. ^ "The Most Expensive Antique Items Ever Sold: Part I". 8 July 2018.