Genoan Commode

Circa 1750
Reference #: EF1309

Kingwood, rosewood, palisander, brèche violet marble

Height: 34 ½ inches (88 cm.)
Width: 46 inches (117 cm.)
Depth: 23 ½ inches (60 cm.)

Alvar Gonzalez-Palacios. Il Mobile in Liguria. Genoa: Sagep Editrice,
1996, figs. 278, 280-285.

Of rectangular form, bombé in front and serpentine and splayed at the sides, the commode is surmounted by a brèche violet marble top and veneered with stylized kingwood rosettes at the center of each side. Comprised of two drawers sans traverses that are bordered by rosewood fillets, the commode rests upon serpentine stiles and splayed legs of palisander wood. The fore-corners are fitted at the top with elaborate foliate and pierced mounts above scrolled, foliate sabots. Fitted with rococo drawer pulls and escutcheons, each drawer is secured by an individual lock.

Considerable inspiration for the French rococo style originally came from Italy. Indeed Italian influence on French furniture had been strong throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but by the early eighteenth century the tide had turned and French fashions were affecting Italy as much as anywhere else in Europe. The Italians absorbed the French rococo style and determined to improve upon it.

There was a great demand for sophisticated furniture in the Republics of Genoa and Venice where the nobility and the highly successful merchant class commissioned pieces which are among the most distinctive variations of the rococo style. The present commode employs exotic Brazilian and Indonesian woods, pierced and elaborately composed mounts and bears a refined harmony of proportion particular to this region of northern Italy.

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