THE COLLECTION
Louis XV's Commode
  • Date: 1739
  • Medium: Oak veneered with kingwood and satiné, mahogany drawers, mahogany lining in side cupboards, red linen lining inside drawers and cupboards, gilt bronze, gilded brass hinges, brass lock plates and lock bracket in between drawers, serpentine marble top.
  • Object size: 88.8 x 195.5 x 80.6 cm
  • Inv: F86
  • Location: Back State Room
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Description
Provenance
Marks/Inscriptions
Further Reading
  • Perhaps the finest and most important example of the Rococco style in the decorative arts in the Wallace Collection, this commode was delivered by Gaudreaus for Louis XV’s new bedchamber in April 1739. A design for the commode attributed to the sculptor Sébastien-Antoine Slodtz, now in the Bibliothèque Nationale, reveals that the mounts were originally intended to be much more symmetrical. However, as executed by the master bronzier Caffiéri, they are wildly exuberant and seem to grow organically in every direction over the surface of the commode. Louis XV, as he lay dying in his bed, is said to have thought that in the flickering firelight, the mounts looked like the flames of hell. The commode was inherited by the King’s First Gentleman of the Bedchamber, the duc d’Aumont, who probably replaced the original red and grey marble top with this one of serpentine marble.