The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Chest of drawers (commode)
  • Chest-of-drawers
  • Chest of drawers (commode)
  • Attributed to André-Charles Boulle (1642 - 1732)
  • Etienne Levasseur (1721 - 1798), Restorer
  • France
  • c. 1710
  • Oak, pinewood, turtleshell, ebony, première-partie Boulle marquetry of brass and turtleshell, walnut, mahogany, marbre d'Antin, steel
  • Object size: 84.5 x 113 x 66 cm
  • Stamp: 'E LEVASSEUR JME' (twice)
    Label: '1556 Chest of drawers, Boule and gilt metal, with top of Breccia marble; French, 17th century' Bethnal Green sale catalogue entry
  • F402
  • Billiard Room
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Dated to c.1710, this chest-of-drawers (commode) is attributed to André-Charles Boulle (1642-1732). It shows certain similarities with the pair of chests-of-drawers made by Boulle for the bedroom of Louis XIV at the Grand Trianon in 1708-9, and various other chests-of-drawers attributed to Boulle such as the pair in the Louvre which have fauns' heads mounted in the centre, and one in the J. Paul Getty Musuem, stamped C. M. COCHOIS but attributable to Boulle's workshop.
    This piece displays the enormous creativity and inventiveness of Boulle, who was so influential in the evolution of furniture design in the early eighteenth century. Here he has taken the existing form of a bureau, or writing desk, and transformed it into a piece of furniture more recognisable as the chest-of-drawers of today. For some time these commmodes were known as 'bureaux en commode'; it was not until 1711 that the simple term 'commode' appeared in the Crown furniture records. Commodes went on to become hugely popular in the furnishing of eighteenth-century French interiors and were found in many different rooms, including studies and bedrooms, where they were usually placed on a wall opposite the chimney-piece..
    This commode is stamped E LEVASSEUR JME which suggests that at some stage it was restored by Etienne Levasseur (1721-1798, maitre 1767).