This beautiful commode is interesting for more than one reason. It has been kept in the same family since the 18th century and essentially seems to have had no restoration since then.
The Japanese-lacquered panels were embellished with a composition in Parisian varnish during the furniture production, as was often the custom. The examination of the facade and sides suggests the partial placement of decorative layers where the relative asymmetry of the Japanese composition has been enhanced with details pleasing to the European eye. Birds framed within the central cartouche are typical of Japanese lacquers and are found on several pieces of furniture including the commode kept at the J. Paul Getty Museum (inv. 55 D.A. 2).
The gilt-bronze ornamentation has preserved its antique mercury gilding. The richness of the adornments is a perfect expression of early Rococo style where Regency motifs gradually give way to more exuberance.
The presence of an ink inscription CH.D.BAINS
underneath the marble top, difficult to read with the naked eye, but revealed via ultraviolet lamp, questions this commode’s original destination.
The cabinetmaking is very skillfully executed, produced by Jacques Dubois (master in 1742). This commode belongs to a very small set of four Japanese lacquered commodes made by the cabinetmaker and listed by T. Wolvesperges (op.cit.). Like the commode in the Carnavalet Museum in Paris (inv. MB 450), it is one of the finest pieces of lacquered furniture made by this cabinetmaker.