11321 A SUPERB QUALITY FIDDLEBACK AND FLAME MAHOGANY TWO DOOR COMMODE WITH MOST UNUSUAL BOXWOOD AND EBONY INLAY WITH FITTED VANITY DRAWER English. Circa 1790. Measurements: Height: 35″(89 cm) Width: 38 1/2″ (97.8 cm) Depth: 22″ (55.9 cm).
Of fiddleback and flame mahogany with boxwood and ebony inlay and gilt-brass mounts. The finely figured ‘cupid’s bow’ shaped top with boxwood line inlaid edge rests upon a conforming base consisting of a pair of cupboard doors centered by oval flame mahogany reserves surrounded by most unusual boxwood inlaid meander pattern “frames.” The single frieze velvet covered writing drawer extensively fitted with a variety of appurtenances, centered by a finely painted cartouche-shaped ratcheted mirror. The whole raised upon four square tapering feet. Some appurtenances lacking.
Exhibited and Illustrated:
In the Days of Queen Charlotte: An Exhibition of Furniture and Works of Art used in English homes in the second half of the eighteenth century. Arranged by Luton Public Museum, Bedfordshire, in collaboration with The British Antique Dealers’ Association. May 11- June 11, 1939. No. 62. (Figure 1)
J. M. Botibol, London
Private New York Collection
In the 18th century, an increased indiviuation of interior spaces allowed furniture designers and makers not only to provide luxurious items for grand rooms, but also more private domestic spaces. Both functional and beautiful, the dressing commode, as described by Thomas Sheraton in his Cabinetmaker and Upholsterer’s Drawing Book (1791-94), “[contained] every requisite for a lady to dress at,” and the “style of finishing them is neat and somewhat elegant.” An example of dressing furniture from Sheraton’s publication is illustrated in figure 1.
The cupid bow form of the cabinet combined with the exquisitely fitted vanity drawer leads to the view that this remarkable piece may have been made as a wedding gift or token of love. Its highly unusual inlay appears to be unique in the canon of English Georgian furniture; the beautiful specimens of flame mahogany oval reserves are framed within a highly distinctive boxwood and ebony wave pattern which also occurs several times within the fitted drawer components (figure 2).
The quality of the cabinet places it amongst the finest pieces of furniture made in the George III period and is for this reason combined with the unusual design that it was included in the iconic exhibition celebrating aspects of Georgian design In the Days of Queen Charlotte: An Exhibition of Furniture and Works of Art Used in English Homes in the Second Half of the Eighteenth Century held at Luton Public Museum, Bedfordshire in collaboration with The British Antique Dealers’ Association on May 11- June 11, 1939. The cabinet is illustrated as item no. 62, Plate XIX (figure 3). The lender of the cabinet was the leading London antiques dealer J. M. Botibol, a name synonymous with excellence to this day.