Every part of this commode is of the highest quality. The front and sides are set with panels of Japanese lacquer that were removed from an imported chest. Delicately chased meandering gilt-bronze mounts hide the seams of the panels, and imitation nashiji, a clear lacquer sprinkled with gold, covers the remaining surfaces. Even the thick marble top is carved both above and below its rim, an unusual refinement.
This commode exemplifies the European passion for objects from the Far East and the Parisian taste for transforming these foreign goods into quintessentially French wares. While its form is strictly French, the three panels of imported Japanese lacquer are the focus of the design. Originally of brown lacquer, the ébéniste painted the ground of the panels black and added gold decoration in a technique known as vernis Martin.
Although the commode is not stamped with the name of a cabinetmaker, it is attributed to the cabinetmaker Joseph Baumhauer because it resembles other works stamped with his name. Two trade labels, one on top of the commode under the marble and one underneath the commode, identify the marchand-mercier Charles Darnault, a dealer who sold luxury goods in his Paris shop, Au Roy d'Espagne, as the source of this commode.