Formal chest depicting the story of Adam and Eve.
This piece of furniture was made in 1691 by the sculptor Alexandre Mayer. The quality of its sculpted décor is testament to its decorative purpose, hence the name "formal chest". In addition, it is designed to be kept in one place, unlike the domed-lid chests which were used as luggage.
From 1888, Ernest Burnat (1833-1922), an architect and member of the technical commission, acquired historic objects for Chillon™ Castle. Among his selection were two 17th-century pieces of furniture: an armchair from Aargau and this chest from Valais.
Several stylistic elements pin-point the latter to Alexandre Mayer’s workshop, most notably the three “flamed” frames, which are typical of the sculptor. Originally from Swabia, he first lived and worked in Broc, before moving to Chablais in Valais. The coat of arms and the initials of governor Joseph Jost and his wife Maris Schwick place the origins of this piece of furniture in the town of Monthey. Alexandre Mayer made several formal chests for governors of the town, five of which we have acquired.
The three sculpted reliefs depict the story of Adam and Eve. In the first frame, God creates Eve from Adam’s rib. In the second, the Temptation plays out under the Tree of Knowledge and the serpent. Finally, in the third, Adam and Eve are expelled from the Garden of Eden after having eaten an apple from the tree, which God had expressly forbidden.
Inv: CH 168