The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Chest-of-drawers
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • France
  • c. 1720 and later (carcase)
    c.1850 (Boulle marquetry, apron and locks)
  • Pinewood, ebony, première-partie Boulle marquetry of brass and turtleshell, oak, gilt bronze, brass, griotte marble, steel
  • Object size: 84.4 x 123.7 x 70 cm
  • F407
  • Great Gallery
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • This chest-of-drawers (commode) dates from the Régence period in France and is typical in outline of many commodes of this date. Its shape is known as a 'commode en tombeau', recalling the sarcophagus shape of Ancient Rome.
    However, in the nineteenth century this commode underwent considerable alteration, and even the Boulle marquetry was added. During conservation work it was discovered that this overlaid a reddish wood veneer (possibly mahogany) which would not have been the case with early eighteenth century Boulle marquetry. Moreover, the two top drawers were originally one full-width drawer that was split into two at a later date, presumably during the nineteenth-century restoration. Some of the mounts also appear to be later additions.
    Interestingly, in 1872 the chest-of-drawers was exhibited by Sir Richard Wallace at the Bethnal Green exhibition, where it was referred to as having 'new Boulle work'. This suggests that Sir Richard or his father, the 4th Marquess of Hertford, had acquired the piece knowing full well that it had been recently heavily restored.