The shape of the chest of drawers is fully in line with the commodes made in the Netherlands in the fashionable mode Française of the 1760s: a curved front and sides on high curved legs and two drawers without a central, separating style. The piece is topped by a slab of fine Rouge Royale marble. To embellish and protect their corners, the legs are finely decorated with fittings and sabots of gilt bronze. The skirting is decorated and both drawers feature handles and an escutcheon in gilt bronze. The bulged/ curved shape of both the front and the sides is emphasized by the reverse diamond veneer. Curved front at the top, slightly indented at the corners. At the bottom, it follows the line of the ruffled skirting. The sides are arched. The field is surrounded by three styles that are separated by palm edging. The center, wide frame is veneered in a herringbone pattern.
The fields with reverse diamond veneer on the drawer chest’s sides are sharply angled but follow the curved line of the piece at the sides and bottom. These fields show a single style flanked by palm edging.
It is striking that the top of all three of the decorated fields is curved, and thereby does not align with the straight top of the chest itself. This reveals great French influence and to a relatively early creation during a period in which furniture decorated with exotic types of wood was fashionable in the Netherlands (1760-1785).
From around 1760, great numbers of marquetry and veneered furniture were produced ‘after the French manner’, imitating the style of the pieces imported from France. Sometimes they were adorned with flower marquetry. However, the decoration more commonly consisted of fields with (reverse) diamond-shaped veneer, which, for an extra luxurious appearance, were usually surrounded by styles/ bands of rare, exotic wood.
R.J. Baarsen, “French Furniture in Amsterdam” in Furniture History XXIX, 1993, pp. 114-128.
R.J. Baarsen, “Andries Bongen (ca. 1732-1792) en de Franse invloed op de Amsterdamse kastenmakerij in de tweede helft van de achttiende eeuw”, in Oud Holland 102, 1988, nr.1, pp. 48-65.
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