Lot 68
  • 68

A gilt-bronze mounted kingwood commode, early Louis XV, attributed to the Maître aux Pagodes

120,000 - 180,000 EUR
bidding is closed


  • kingwood, gilt-bronze, "brèche d'Alep" marble
  • Haut. 81 cm, larg. 141 cm, prof. 63 cm; Height 32 in, width 55 1/2 in, depth 24 3/4 in
with foliates and leaves on treillis, the front part with three drawers, raised on cabriole legs headed by heads of triton ended by fish tails ; with a brèche d'Alep marble top


Christie's, Monaco, 1st July 1995, lot 198
Maurice Segoura Gallery, Paris


- A. Pradère, « Le Maître aux pagodes, un ébéniste mystérieux », in L'Estampille L'Objet d'Art, March 1992, n.  256, p. 25, fig. 5, p. 28 and p. 41, fig. 14

Literature references:
- A. Pradère, Les ébénistes français de Louis XIV à la Révolution, Paris, 1989, pp. 110-114 and 124-127
- A. Pradère, « Le Maître aux pagodes, un ébéniste mystérieux », in L'Estampille L'Objet d'Art, March 1992, n.  256, pp. 22-44
- B. Langer and H. Ottomeyer, Die Möbel der Residenz München, Die französischen Möbel des 18. Jahrhunderts, t.1, Munich/New York, 1995, pp. 53-57, n. 5

Catalogue Note

Many cabinetmakers from the French Regency, such as Noël Gérard, Etienne Doirat, and François Lieutaud, have been the subject of research in recent years, allowing us to better understand the production during this period. However, a homogeneous corpus of high-quality furniture remains anonymous. Alexander Pradere deserves the credit for the attribution to these pieces of furniture to a cabinetmaker whom he nicknames "the Master of Pagodas" due to certain recurring Chinoiserie motifs in his bronzes. Our commode is part of this ensemble ascribed to him, realized in the years 1730-1745, and is illustrated several times in his article on the cabinetmaker in the French decorative arts magazine, L'Estampille L'Objet d'Art. The important bronzes outlining the swags on the feet are directly related to the principles initiated by André-Charles Boulle and reworked by Charles Cressent, which could allow a rapprochement with Boulle's sons. However, this hypothesis cannot be substantiated due to the lack of information concerning the workshops of André-Charles II alias Boulle de Sève and his brothers.

In the case of our commode, the bearded triton heads emerging from the shells and terminated by two intertwined fish tails are also found on several writing desks (including the former Earl of Normanton's collection, Christie's, London, 1 July  1986, lot 75, then Galerie Maurice Segoura, Paris), another commode but with three rows of drawers (auction Ader, Paris, 19 June 1964, lot 194, then auction Laurin, Paris, 7 December 1976 Galerie Fabre, Paris), and the gaine pedestal from the Residence of Munich. The crossbow-designed pull handles with jagged leaves are, in all respects, similar to those of the aforementioned three-row commode, also another sold at the Palais Galliera, Paris, on 15 June 1971, lot 105, from the Rothschild Collection (Sotheby's, London, 24 November  1972, lot 35, then Sotheby's, London, 21 July 1977, lot 88) and one from the collection of the Wilhelmstal Palace in Kassel.