Description & Technical information

Note: The commode retains all the original external and internal ormolu mounts and virtually all the original decoration. Extensive paint analysis has revealed that an external extension at the rear of the carcass is a contemporary change and original. The depth extension of the drawers, however, was carried out at some later stage, retaining the original drawer fronts, backs and bottoms. The sides of the drawers were replaced during this later alteration.
The work of Pierre Langlois has been examined and discussed in great detail in a series of articles by William Rieder and Peter Thornton. The exceptionally broad spectrum of decorative techniques used by Langlois in his commissions includes plain veneer, floral marquetry, parquetry, Florentine pietra dura panels, Chinese lacquer and japanning, and his pieces are usually mounted with fine ormolu mounts supplied by his son-in-law, Dominique Jean.
This commode is to date the only known example of a scarlet japanned commode of the early transitional period between the rococo and neoclassical styles, not only by Langlois, but by any cabinet-maker in England. Scarlet lacquer and japanning continued to be used in France, but were little used in England from around 1740 until they came back into fashion during the Regency period.
Other features characteristic of Langlois on this commode are the typical brass mounts, the construction of the carcass and the doors, the black wash of the double panelled back and the outline of the shaped apron. The most striking detail is the embellishment of the japanned corners with leaf decoration, which is consistent with virtually every piece made in the Langlois workshop apart from a few exceptions, the plain design of which did not allow ornamentation.

Date:  circa 1765
Period:  George III
Origin:  English
Medium: Lacquer
Dimensions: 86.5 x 98 x 63 cm (34 x 38⁵/₈ x 24³/₄ inches)
Provenance: Private collection, New York, USA.
Literature: Public Advertiser, 19 February 1771, p. 3.
Public Advertiser, 20 February 1771, p. 3
Edward T. Joy, ‘A pair of early neo-classic commodes’, Connoisseur, July 1963, pp. 28 - 9.
Peter Thornton and William Rieder, ‘Pierre Langlois, Ébéniste’, Part I, Connoisseur, December 1971, pp. 283 - 8.
Peter Thornton and William Rieder, ‘Pierre Langlois, Ébéniste’, Part II, Connoisseur, February 1972, pp. 105 - 12.
Peter Thornton and William Rieder, ‘Pierre Langlois, Ébéniste’, Part III, Connoisseur, March 1972, pp. 176 - 87.
Peter Thornton and William Rieder, ‘Pierre Langlois, Ébéniste’, Part IV, Connoisseur, April 1972, pp. 257 - 65.
Peter Thornton and William Rieder, ‘Pierre Langlois, Ébéniste’, Part V, Connoisseur, May 1972, pp. 30 - 35.
William Rieder, ‘More on Pierre Langlois’, Connoisseur, September 1974, pp. 11 - 13.
Categories: Furniture