Hand carved during the 1700’s, this Italian chest of drawers features burl veneer and bronze pulls. A burl occurs when wood grain grows in a misshapen manner, as the result of stress to the tree. Burled wood is highly valued because it yields deeply figured wood that is both rare and beautiful. The wood itself is extremely dense and resistant to splitting due to the twisted grain.
In the case of this commode, the burl veneer is from a walnut tree. Burl walnut typically has a rich brown coloration, as seen here. A frieze adorned with alternating linear and concave motifs lies beneath a top surrounded by quarter round molding. This type of decorative carving is typically Italian.
The front has three stacked 28-inch-wide drawers with two bronze pulls on each facade. To the inside of each pull is a carved demilune recession. The unadorned recessed sides have several layers of molding on top of an arbalete apron. The molding is a continuation of the front side that has a sinuous apron that terminates in pedestal feet.
As with most pieces Italian pieces of this type, our burl walnut commode favors function over fashion. Many commodes had little decoration, as veneer was the preferred embellishment. The practical size and style of our commode permits it be used in a variety of ways and a recent light French wax has been given to further emphasize the natural beauty of the walnut.
CONDITION: Good antique condition with wear commensurate to age and use with traces of old wood worm. Two lower pulls are replacements. Minor splitting and small losses to veneer. Old repairs visible.