The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Chest-of-drawers
  • Nicolas-Jean Marchand (1697 - after 1755)
  • Gilles Joubert (1689 - 1775)
  • France
  • 1755
  • Oak, veneered with Chinese lacquer, stained pear wood and satiné; gilt bronze, brèche violette marble
  • Object size: 84.5 x 86.5 x 55.8 cm
  • Stamp: 'MARCHAND' Twice
    Stamp: 'JME'
    Stencil: 'F (crowned) No 308'
    Stencil: 'F (crowned) No 340 / No 2017 / A'
    Inscription: 'petit comod' In red chalk
  • F88
  • Small Drawing Room
Images & Media
  • In September 1755 this commode was delivered to the Palace of Fontainebleau for use by the queen, Marie Leszcynska. It was one of a pair, and they were placed between the windows in her bedroom. They were testament to the queen’s interest in the Orient, which she expressed through a collection of Chinese porcelain and small lacquer objects and through ‘chinoiserie’ style subjects that she chose to paint. The commode is also testament to the skills of the cabinet-maker, Marchand, whose maker’s stamp is visible on the back, along with the inventory mark of the palace.
    In the 1740s it became fashionable to re-use old pieces of Chinese or Japanese lacquer by cutting up screens or cabinets which had fallen out of fashion and veneering the lacquer onto new pieces of furniture. Such items were intended to evoke the exotic world of the Orient but they were also designed to work within a contemporary French interior, and the shape of this chest-of-drawers and the gilt-bronze mounts would have ensured that it fitted harmoniously into the rest of the décor of the queen’s bedroom.