The square, box-like form of this small, solidly constructed chest of drawers shows the earliest form of a commode, still very close to a chest. Commodes--the French word literally means "convenient"--first appeared at the end of the 1600s, replacing large chests for storage, and became very fashionable pieces of furniture during the 1700s.

The commode's interior, divided by two drawers and with two side cupboards, provided a better distribution of space in a more elegant and accessible form than the earlier large chests, which had only a single, undivided space. Clothes, papers, and precious items may have been stored in either form of chest, probably secured by a lock and key.

This commode, with its simple bands of trelliswork parquetry and restrained mounts, would have stood in the private family quarters rather than in the lavish public rooms of a residence. A stamp on its back reveals that the comte d'Artois, younger brother to the French King Louis XVI, once owned it. The commode also bears a large crowned M stamp, showing that it once was part of the furnishings of one of his houses, the château de Maisons.


  • Title: Commode (3/4 right)
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: about 1710–1715
  • Location Created: Paris, France
  • Physical Dimensions: 84 × 140.3 × 59.7 cm (33 1/16 × 55 1/4 × 23 1/2 in.)
  • Type: Furniture
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Fir and oak veneered with bloodwood and walnut; drawers of fir, oak and walnut; gilt-bronze mounts
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 78.DA.87
  • Culture: French
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Creator Display Name: Unknown
  • Classification: Decorative Art (Art Genre)

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