The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Chest-of-drawers
  • Antoine-Robert Gaudreaus (1682 - 1746)
  • France
  • 1735 - 1740
  • Oak, veneered with kingwood, gilt bronze, mahogany drawers inlaid with amaranth and boxwood, steel key
  • Object size: 93.3 x 179.3 x 81.5 cm
  • F85
  • Small Drawing Room
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • This is one of the most excitingly 'rococo' pieces of furniture in the Wallace Collection. Not only its double-bowed bombé outline, but its elaborate and 'rocaille' gilt-bronze mounts suggest a date of between 1735-40 when the fashion for designs such as this was at its height. The female gilt-bronze mask in the centre is probably influenced by similarly costumed heads in engravings after Watteau.
    It is now attributed to Antoine-Robert Gaudreaus (c.1682-1746) but it was earlier thought to be by Charles Cressent (1685-1768); it was catalogued as being among the 'Ouvrages de Sieur Cressent' in the posthumous sale of Monsieur de Selle in 1761. However, its oak carcase, kingwood veneer and exaggerated curves are very unlike other work by Cressent and more like that of Gaudreaus. Another commode by Gaudreaus in the Wallace Collection (F86) was designed by the Slodtz brothers, probably by Sébastien-Antoine Slodtz who worked for the dpeartment of Menus Plaisirs producing furniture and theatre designs. Several of the motifs on Slodtz designs can also be found on this commode, such as the rush or palm ornament, dragons and the volute feet. M. de Selle was, from 1731, intendant and contrôleur général of the Argenterie, Menus Plaisirs et Affaires de la Chambre du Roi, which must strengthen the possibility of Slodtz's involvement in the design.
    The shape is known as a 'commode à la Régence' which differs from the earlier style of 'commode en tombeau' in having only two layers of drawers instead of three and by being raised higher off the ground. The delineation of the drawers has been suppressed and the effect of the mounts is to add further movement to the veneered surface.
    At least seven 19th-century copies of this commode are known.