Vitrine, noun


A vitrine is a glass-paneled cabinet or case, especially for displaying articles such as china, objects d'art or fine merchandise. Merriam-Webster says the history of the word vitrine is “clear as glass” -- literally. It comes to English by way of the Old French word vitre (meaning a pane of glass). And that word was handed down from the Latin vitrum, which means, simply, glass. The word vitrum has contributed several words to the English language, such as vitreous (resembling glass or consisting of glass) and vitrailed (fitted with stained glass).

The gorgeous piece shown here is a Louis XVI-style vitrine table that was put up for bid at John Moran Auctioneers' July 30, 2016 Decorative Art Auction in Monrovia, California. It was assigned a handsome pre-sale estimate of $20,000-$30,000, in part because it was one of three examples in the sale by the celebrated French cabinetmaker Francois Linke (1855-1946). Linke was actually born in a village in what is now part of the Czech Republic. He worked in Vienna at the time of the International Exhibition in 1873, then moved to Paris in 1875.