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Boulle Commode

  • Object:

    Commode

  • Place of origin:

    France (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1730 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Gérard, Noel (Maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Boulle, ormolu mounted

  • Museum number:

    W.18-1997

  • Gallery location:

    On display at Longleat House, Wiltshire

The object is on loan to Longleat House, Wiltshire.

Physical description

Ormolu polychrome mounted Boulle commode, contre partie, the bowed top inlaid with a central panel with a still life of a basket of fruit, a knife and bowl. Flanked by flowerhead trelliswork panels and scrolling arabesque flowerheads with grotesque masks, with two panelled long drawers inlaid with conforming scrolling foliage with pierced and pounced scalloped cartouche lockplates and foliate handles. The waved apron centred by a bearded mask, the sides with conforming panels, the angles mounted with lion masks. Fruiting foliage clasps on cabriole legs with trelliswork scrolling foliate sabots.

Place of Origin

France (made)

Date

ca. 1730 (made)

Artist/maker

Gérard, Noel (Maker)

Materials and Techniques

Boulle, ormolu mounted

Marks and inscriptions

NG
1) Makers's mark; stamping (marking)

Dimensions

Width: 53 in, Height: 34.5 in, Depth: 26 in

Object history note

This commode represents the work of the generation of cabinet makers specialising in boulle marquetry which followed that of André Charles Boulle himself. The form of the two-drawer commode on long legs is also a new development at this date, from the earlier and lower three-drawered commodes. This piece is still closer closer to the form of the early 18th century than to the standard bombé commodes of the mid-century.

Historical significance: Should the theory that this stamp (NG) be linked with the marchand mercier, Noel Gérard, be proven, this piece would represent an early example of furniture which can be linked with an individual dealer's shop. The design of the top, a large still life panel in boulle marquetry, is particularly rare and notable.
The history of the piece, together with the two other furniture acquisitions from Longleat House (W.19-1997, W.20-1997), is linked to an early 19th-century aristocratic tradition of collecting French ancien régime furniture.
Though systematic work on the family papers has not been undertaken to trace their acquisition, it is possible that further research would uncover more about their history.

Historical context note

The piece was accepted by the V&A in lieu of tax.

Descriptive line

Commode, French, ca. 1730, attributed to Noël Gérard, inlaid polychrome contre-partie boulle, with gilt-bronze mounts

Materials

Wood; Brass; Gilt bronze

Techniques

Boulle; Marquetry

Subjects depicted

Still life of fruits and flowers; Mascarons; Basket; Lion masks

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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