• Paris, c. 1750–5 
  • Oak and ebony, Japanese lacquer panels, bronze and marble 
  • Inv. 284


Jean Deforges

This commode is entirely covered in precious panels of Japanese lacquer from the mid-seventeenth century decorated with gilded relief motifs on a black ground and with mother-of-pearl and gold leaf applications. The upper drawer shows images of a dragon among clouds on the left and a thick bamboo stem on the right, while the lower drawer has a flowery field and two wild animals fighting. The panels on the flanks are decorated with exotic birds in naturalist landscapes.

The perfect harmony of the opulent bronzes that spread over the lacquer and decorate the panels, flanks and legs manages to bring the entire piece together. The exceptional escutcheon runs vertically and skilfully links the top (under the marble surface) to the decoration that frames the shaped apron and forms the commode’s lower axis. 

Furniture such as this piece, perfectly described as pittoresque, epitomises the luxury, extravagance and brilliance achieved by the French decorative in the middle of the 18th century.

Lacarde Collection. Acquired by Calouste Gulbenkian from Duveen, Paris, May 1921.

H. 90 cm; W. 130 cm; D. 60 cm 

Demetrescu 1992

Calin Demetrescu, 'D.F., un ébéniste identifié', L’Estampille/L’Objet d’Art (262), 1966, pp. 48–51.

Münster 1998

Monika Kopplin, Europäische Lackunst. Ausgewählte Arbeiten, exhibition catalogue. Münster: Museum für Lackkunst, 1998, p. 78, colourpl. 5.

Coutinho 1999

Maria Isabel Pereira Coutinho, 18th-Century French Furniture. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, 1999, p. 135–40, no. 8.

Lisbon 2001 (a)

Calouste Gulbenkian Museum. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, 2001, p. 121, no. 95.

Lisbon 2001 (b)

Pedro Moura Carvalho (coord.), The World of Lacquer. 2000 Years of History, exhibition catalogue. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, 2001, pp. 222–3, no. 99.

Münster 2002

Monika Kopplin, Japanische Lacke. Die Sammlung der Königin Marie-Antoinette, exhibition catalogue. Münster: Museum für Lackkunst, 2002, p. 23, colourpl. 12.

Updated on 09 june 2022

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