A Pair of Serpentine Iberian Commodes

REF: 1130

A Pair of Serpentine Iberian Commodes

REF: 1130

A complex pair of serpentine Iberian commodes. The facade with interwoven panels of quarter cross grain timbers including Kingwood, boxwood and satinwood on ogee supports. All under inset marble tops. From the second quarter of the 19th century.

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  • Height 114.3 cm / 45 332"
  • Width 129.54 cm / 51 332"
  • Depth 63.5 cm / 25 332"
  • Period 1850-1899
  • Year c. 1850
  • Country England
  • Provenance Originally, in French furniture, a Commode introduced about 1700 meant a low cabinet, or chest of drawers at the height of the dado rail (à hauteur d'appui). A commode, made by a cabinet-maker and applied with gilt-bronze mounts, was a piece of veneered case furniture much wider than it was high, raised on high or low legs and with (commode à vantaux) or without enclosing drawers. The piece of furniture would be provided with a marble slab top selected to match the marble of the chimneypiece. A commode occupied a prominent position in the room for which it was intended: it stood against the pier between the windows, in which case it would often be surmounted by a mirror glass, or a pair of identical commodes would flank the chimneypiece or occupy the centre of each end wall. Bombé commodes, with surfaces shaped in three dimensions were a feature of the rococo style called "Louis Quinze". Rectilinear neoclassical or "Louis Seize" commodes might have such deep drawers or doors that the feet were en toupie—in the tapering turned shape of a child's spinning top. Both rococo and neoclassical commodes might have cabinets flanking the main section, in which case such a piece was a commode à encoignures, pairs of encoignures or corner-cabinets might also be designed to complement a commode and stand in the flanking corners of a room. If a commode had open shelves flanking the main section it was a commode à l'anglaise