The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Chest-of-drawers
  • Chest-of-drawers
  • Jean-Henri Riesener (1734 - 1806)
  • France
  • c. 1782
    by 1865 (various alterations made, eg carcase reveneered and current marble added)
  • Oak veneered with mahogany, stringings of ebony and box, gilt bronze, brocatello marble top, steel locks and key
  • Object size: 88.5 x 136.3 x 60.2 cm
  • Stamp: 'J♦H♦Riesener'
    Label: 'Henry J. Hatfield, / General / Fine Art Manufacturer / and / Renovator of Old Work, / 86, Charlotte Street, / Fitzroy Square, W.' (Printed) 'April 1900 / restored' (Handwritten) Printed and handwritten
    Inscription: 'Bas' (chalk) 'En bas' (pencil) 'Defendu' (Pencil) other illegible words in pencil
  • F248
  • Dining Room
Commentary
History
  • This chest-of-drawers ('commode') by Jean-Henri Riesener (1734-1806) can be dated to c. 1782 on the basis of the resemblance of its mounts to two commodes delivered to Marie Antoinette for her apartment at the chateau of Marly in March of that year. Royal records show that the mounts on the Marly pair were chased and gilded by François Rémond (1747-1812). This commode now lacks the oval gilt-bronze frame, with garlands of flowers above and below, that is in the centre of the drawer fronts of the Marly examples, but there is evidence on the inside that it formerly possessed such a frame, probably enclosing a marquetry trophy (see for example F247 in the Wallace Collection). It may also have been completely reveneered, perhaps just after the French Revolution when royal emblems and heraldry were often eradicated from furniture (as for example seems to have been the case with the chest-of-drawers made for the prince de Condé, F246 in the Wallace Collection). Originally this commode would have had a top of veined white marble, much more in keeping with neo-classical taste.