This French Empire commode is a perfect example of the type of chest of drawers that became popular in the early 1800’s. This was a time when Napoleon preferred to do away with styles of the 18th century Monarchs. Influential designers commissioned pieces with straight lines and architectural motifs, such as the detached columns on the façade of this piece. The commode has no ornamental carvings, relying on the beauty of the wood grain, and finely chiseled gilt bronze mounts to complement the large, plain drawers and tapering columns.
The body of the piece is surmounted by a rectangular section, of which contains a drawer with no pulls. Above this, is a dark charcoal colored “bluestone”, showing ancient inclusions of marine life shells. The commode sits on block feet in the rear, and bun shaped feet in the front. The three drawers are centered by charming gilt bronze keyhole escutcheons featuring winged cherubs holding large baskets of fruit and flowers.
The mahogany veneer has been recently stripped, which is unusual for a chest of drawers of this style. The combination of the pale wood with interesting graining, restrained, but bright bronze hardware, and cut stone top make for a handsome piece that will be easy to place in a variety of interiors.
CONDITION: Stripped and lightly patinated wood with slightly different tones on the sides (likely due to sun). Minor nicks and wear throughout. Vertical separations on each side of commode, with a horizontal marking along left side panel (see photos). Minor scratches to stone top, overall good strong antique condition.