Oratory and commode

Unknown author18th century

MNAA National Museum of Ancient Art

MNAA National Museum of Ancient Art
Lisbon, Portugal

In the period of José I (1750-1777), Portuguese furniture was
heavily influenced by English models, with their inspiration
being drawn from the albums of well-known furniture
designers, such as Thomas Chippendale. As was the case with
other pieces of furniture, the Portuguese versions of these
cabinets-on-chest were quite different from the original model,
not only because of the woods, the type of decoration and
the mounts that were used, but also because of the purpose
that was served by the upper cabinet. In other countries, this
piece was used for storing books, whereas, in Portugal, it was
often used as an oratory, with the most frequently worshipped
saints being kept inside. In the interior of this oratory, with
a polychrome background decorated with marble effects and
clouds, is a magnificent crucifix with a silver apostolate at its
base, showing, on either side, the estofado wooden images
of St. Rita of Cascia and St. Joseph.


  • Title: Oratory and commode
  • Creator: Unknown author
  • Date Created: 18th century
  • Location Created: Portugal
  • Physical Dimensions: 175 cm x 130 cm x 44 cm (oratory); 111.5 cm x 132 cm x 74.5 cm (commode)
  • Type: Furniture
  • Rights: MNAA Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, inv. 1415 Mov, 1617 Mov
  • Medium: Brazilian rosewood, gilded and polychrome redwood, painted canvas (oratory). Brazilian rosewood, brass mounts (commode)

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