A Royal Chest of Drawers
This chest of drawers (or commode in French) was made especially for Madame Louise, the youngest daughter of King Louis XV of France. It was made under the direction of Royal Cabinetmaker Gilles Joubert. It took many craftspeople to produce a single piece of elaborate French furniture like this one.
During the 1700s, when this piece was made, decorative furniture was built in several steps, each involving the expertise of different people. A woodworker put together the body, or framework, of this commode, using plain, sturdy oak. Then it was passed on to the cabinetmaker. The cabinetmaker (in this case Joubert) created a layer of beautiful patterns made up of many very thin pieces of expensive and exotic woods called veneers. Joubert assembled the veneers and glued them to the surface of the body. Joubert also designed metal decorations made of bronze covered with a thin layer of gold to make the commode look even more impressive. As the final stage of construction, a master stonecutter carved the thick marble top.
Joubert delivered the finished chest of drawers to Madame Louise in 1769. It was placed in her bedroom at the Palace of Versailles. Can you imagine having such a fancy piece of furniture in your bedroom?