The furniture collection contains more than six hundred items for secular use, created in a time span from the 17th to the early 20th century. The finest part is presented in the context of the permanent display of the Cultural History Museum in the Rector’s Palace, with which it is not directly connected, however, for the historical inventory of the first Dubrovnik palace was stolen or otherwise depleted during the centuries.
The first and most essential stock of this collection was assembled immediately after World War II from the old Dubrovnik palaces, villas and city houses, after which it continued to be supplemented with new artefacts.
Although because of the historical conditions in the city and the character of the materials of which furniture is made it gives only a limited picture of the Dubrovnik interiors in which life went on for centuries, the collection does nevertheless tell convincingly of the relatively high standard of living of the patrician class and the richer burghers, who followed the general fashions of the time and acquired objects in European centres.
The furniture collection mainly consists of products of southern Italian, Venetian and Ligurian workshops from the end of the 17th and during the 18th century, made with the methods of gilding and decorative techniques of the Venetian Rococo, some examples being produced with inlays and diverse veneers. Also represented are areas of European production, mainly from central Europe, including Croatia, particularly in pieces from the19th century.
A special place in this collection is claimed by a group of painted furniture of the 18th century made with the Venetian decorative technique of lacca povera, a cheaper version of Venetian lacca, represented in the holdings with a few examples, a console table with floral decoration standing out. Also worth pointing out are gilt console tables of the Italian Baroque, and examples of northern Italian inlaid chests with floral decorations from the end of the 17th century. A chest of the Maggiolini type with elegant inlays from the end of the 18th century and a seating suite with characteristics of Louis XVI are the most prominent examples of the classicist style in the collection.
A particularly valuable item in the holdings is an opulent cabinet on a gilt base decorated with mythological motifs on glass painted in tempera – the work of the Neapolitan workshop of Luca Giordano from the end of the 17th century.
A separate segment of the collection is a collection of six Italian-made 18th century Sedan chairs, decorated with paintings on the wood and gilt carving, the coats of arms confirming that they once belonged to Dubrovnik patrician families.
A large part of the holdings of the furniture collection, more than 200 items, consists of 19th century items, pieces with Biedermeier or historicist stylistic characteristics prevailing.