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Commode
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Gift of J. Paul Getty
This image is available for download, without charge, under the Getty's Open Content Program.

Attributed to Charles Cressent
French, Paris, about 1745 - 1750
Pine and walnut veneered with bois satiné and amaranth; gilt-bronze mounts; brèche d'Alep stone top
H: 2 ft. 11 1/2 in. x W: 4 ft. 5 3/4 in. x D: 2 ft. 1 1/2 in.
70.DA.82

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Charles Cressent made both the wooden carcass and gilt-bronze mounts for this commode. His practice of casting bronze in his workshop broke strict guild rules; through the eighteenth century, the craft of casting and gilding bronze was restricted to a separate guild. Cressent was fined several times for these infringements; in order to pay the penalties, he was forced to hold sales of his stock. In a catalogue he wrote in 1756 for one such sale, he describes this commode's unique central gilt-bronze mount: "the bronzes [represent] two children who are grating snuff; in the middle is a monkey powdering itself with snuff."

By the time it was built, this commode already looked old-fashioned. By the 1740s most commodes were constructed without a central divider that separated the two drawers. Although the curving gilt-bronze branches on the front try to mask this division, Cressent had to split the mount into three pieces--an awkward solution. He seems to have had difficulty selling the commode as it was still in his possession nearly twenty years after its construction.

Detail Views

Underside commode
Underside commode

Side of commode
Side of commode

Interior of commode
Interior of commode

Back of commode
Back of commode

Central mount
Central mount


Other Views

Side
Side