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  • Place of origin:

    Paris (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1780 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Cramer, Mathieu-Guillaume (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oak carcase with marquetry of tulipwood, sycamore and kingwood, marble top and gilt brass mounts

  • Credit Line:

    Gift of Miss Rachel Leighton through Art Fund

  • Museum number:

    W.3:1 to 8-1940

  • Gallery location:

    Furniture, Room 135, The Dr Susan Weber Gallery, case BY6, shelf EXP []

This commode was made by Mathieu-Guillaume Cramer, of the Rue du Faubourg Saint Antoine and later, Rue due Bac, Paris. He was born in Germany but moved to Paris and married into a French dynasty of cabinet-makers. Cramer both made and retailed furniture. He worked from about 1771 to 1794. This commode, or chest of drawers, which was made in about 1780 is typical of his work.

Physical description

Rectilinear commode, decorated with chequer-pattern marquetry and gilt brass mounts, with a white, black-streaked marble top.

Place of Origin

Paris (made)


ca. 1780 (made)


Cramer, Mathieu-Guillaume (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Oak carcase with marquetry of tulipwood, sycamore and kingwood, marble top and gilt brass mounts

Marks and inscriptions

M.G. Cramer JME.
In wood below marble near right rear corner


Width: 150 cm, Height: 89 cm, Depth: 65.5 cm

Object history note

This was given to the Museum by Miss Rachel Leighton. The furniture offered was said to have been collected, mainly in France, by Sir Henry Williams Winn, K.C.M.G. (1783-1856). Miss Leighton had given details of his career in her work Correspondence of Charlotte Grenville. London: Murray, 1920. See Nominal File: National Art Collections Fund 1940-43.

In 2012 a part replica of the commode and one drawer was created, with 'exploded' joints, for display alongside the commode in the Furniture gallery (opened Dec. 2012). The creation of the replica has been described by its maker, Dan Mifsud in a short article in the V&A Conservation Journal, spring 2013 (issue 61):

Descriptive line

Marquetry commode made by M.G. Cramer

Labels and date

Commode (chest of drawers)
About 1770–5
Mathieu-Guillaume Cramer (active 1771–83)

France (Paris)
Case probably made by RVLC (Roger Vandercruse or Lacroix)
Carcase: oak
Marquetry: tulipwood, purplewood, kingwood, holly, maple (stained)
Mounts: gilded brass
Top: Carrara Bianco Venato marble

Given by Miss Rachel Leighton through the Art Fund
Museum no. W.3-1940

The plain oak carcase of this commode is hidden under the surface. Without its veneers, mounts and marble top, you would see (as on your left) the horizontal rails joined to the uprights using mortise-and-tenon joints. The marble top is heavy. To help maintain structural rigidity, the top board is dovetailed to the commode sides. [01/12/2012]


Oak; Tulip wood; Sycamore; Kingwood; Marble; Brass






Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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