The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Chest-of-drawers
  • Attributed to Alexandre-Jean Oppenordt (1639 - 1715)
  • France
  • c. 1695
  • Oak, première-partie Boulle marquetry of brass and turtleshell, walnut, gilt bronze, lumachella marble, pine, brass and steel
  • Object size: 87.5 x 132 x 63.5 cm
  • Stamp: 'EHB'
  • F405
  • Great Gallery
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • This magnificent sarcophagus-shaped chest-of-drawers ('commode') is characteristic of the grandest furniture of the late seventeenth century with its premiere-partie Boulle marquetry and imposing gilt-bronze mounts. The turtleshell in the marquetry decoration has been veneered over a red ground which gives the piece its strong red colour.
    The commode is attributed to Alexandre-Jean Oppenordt (c. 1639-1715) on the grounds that the cabinet-maker is known to have co-operated with Jean Berain (1640-1711) after whose designs the shape and decoration of the piece is taken.

    Oppenordt was of Dutch origin, but was working in Paris some time before 1679 when he received letters of naturalisation. He worked for the royal Gobelins Manufactory and in 1684 was given lodgings in the Louvre; he supplied Louis XIV and the Court with furniture and marquetry floors; similar brass bandings and stringings as those on the commode are found on the floor of a coach commisioned for the Swedish king in 1696 and made by Oppenordt.

    The commode was originally made with its pair, veneered with contre-partie decoration. This is now in a private collection. Both pieces had marble tops added in the nineteenth century to replace the original marquetry finish, most probably by the London dealer Edward Holmes Baldock, whose stamp can be found on the back of F405.