A Magnificent Gilt-Bronze Mounted Parquetry Commode, After Antoine Gaudreaux’s ‘Commode Médallier’
A Magnificent Gilt-Bronze Mounted Parquetry Commode, After Antoine Gaudreaux's 'Commode Médallier'. The serpentine Vert Maurin marble top above a conforming...
DimensionsHeight: 91 cm (36 in)
Width: 173 cm (69 in)
Depth: 64 cm (26 in)
A Magnificent Gilt-Bronze Mounted Parquetry Commode, After Antoine Gaudreaux’s ‘Commode Médallier’.
The serpentine Vert Maurin marble top above a conforming case set with two cupboard doors each decorated with lozenge parquetry. The interior fitted with four drawers with quarter veneering, ebonised banding and scrolled handles. The swept legs heading by rams’ masks. The front and sides set with oval panels decorated with a blue tole ground depicting relief-sculpted figural scenes of Dionysus riding a panther (front right); the Goat Amalthea and Infant Jupiter (front left); Hercules (left side); the crowning of Athena (right side).
The magnificent commode is based on a priceless original which was supplied by Antoine Gaudreaux, the King’s ébéniste, in 1739 to Versailles for the Cabinet Interieur of Louis XV, and employed mounts by the renowned sculptor Jacques Caffiéri. The iconography is derived from the Greco-Roman world, replete with symbolism relating to the Altar of Dionysos.
Known as the ‘commode médallier’ so called because it contained a set of the famous series of medals known as the medallic history of Louis XIV and Louis XV which included portraits of the leading crowned heads of Europe and to which medals of the most beautiful buildings of the reign of Louis XV were later added. This purpose is reflected in the gilt bronze medallions that embellish the lavish design. The design for the ‘commode médallier’ is attributed to Sébastien Slodtz, possibly in collaboration with his brother Paul-Ambroise. Sébastien Slodtz was one of the originators of the Rococo style, and from 1750 to 1754 he was Dessinateur de la Chambre et du Cabinet du Roi. Slodtz and Antoine Gaudreaux are known to have produced two remarkable commodes in collaboration together, the ‘commode médallier’ and another exceptional commode supplied for Louis XV’s bedchamber, now in the Wallace collection. Antoine Robert Gaudreaux (1680-1751) was not only ébéniste to Louis XV but also Superintendent of his buildings, and in this capacity contributed to the interior decoration of the Bibliothèque du Roi and the Tuileries Palace.
The Nineteenth Century was to see a great revival in the rococo taste and a renewed interest in the masterpieces produced during Louis XV’s reign. Cabinetmakers began to create new interpretations of many of the most famous examples from the Royal Palaces, working in a sympathetic style and employing superb craftsmanship, in many cases equal to that of the original.
France, Circa 1880.
Parquetry and Gilt-Bronze
Antoine-Robert Gaudreaux (c. 1680 – 6 May 1746) was a Parisian ébéniste who was appointed Ébéniste du Roi and was the principal supplier of furniture for the royal châteaux during the early years of Louis XV’s reign. He is largely known through the copious documentation of the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne; he entered the service of the Garde-Meuble in 1726. However, since his career was spent before the practice of stamping Paris-made furniture began (1751), no stamped piece by Gaudreaux exists and few identifications have been made, with the exception of royal pieces that were so ambitious and distinctive that they can be recognised from their meticulous inventory descriptions.
His premises were in rue Princesse, apart from the cabinet-making neighborhoods of Paris. He was elected syndic of the cabinet-makers’ guild, the Corporation des Menuisiers-Ébénistes in 1744.
He was succeeded in his workshop, for a brief time, by his son François-Antoine Gaudreau (died 1751), also Ébéniste du Roi.
Private Collection, London.
Meyer, Daniel: ‘Versailles: Furniture of The Royal Palace’, Editions Faton; Dijon 2002; p. 96 – 101.
Souchal, F: ‘Les Slodtz, sculpteurs er decorateurs du Roi’; 1685-1764, Paris 1967; p. 148.