The Antique Dealers' Fair And Exhibition, 1951 Catalogue pg 63.
An Important and well documented George III carved mahogany serpentine commode. The figured and moulded top above four graduated drawers, the top drawer fitted with a writing slide and various compartments. All retaining their original chased brass handles depicting lion masks.
The canted corners carved with corbels hung with husks, acanthus foliage and oval paterae, standing on shaped bracket feet.
This superb commode portrays many of the attributes of the workshop of Thomas Chippendale ( 1718-1779).
The drawer fronts on this commode retain their original lion mask handles and ‘S’ shaped escutcheons, that were hallmarks of the St Martins Lane Syndicate**. Shaped escutcheons were technically very difficult to create. It is thought that Chippendale favoured this type of escutcheon, due to their intricacy and added security; as to create keys that fitted these escutcheons would have needed a skilled metal worker and was a complex process.
From a construction point of view, the commode is executed in quality mahogany, the original feet are blocked for added support and strength, there is a red clay wash to the underboard, and the back is panelled. These all being hallmarks of commissions by Chippendale.
In addition to the above, the execution and restraint of the carving and overall cabinet work is of the highest order.
Importantly though the piece remains in exceptional condition throughout. The commode is a superb colour and has retained its original surface, this includes the handles which retain traces of their original gilding.
Many of the design elements discussed, can be seen on documented commissions by Chippendale at Raynham Hall in Norfolk
St Martins Lane Syndicate
Vile and Cobb, who later became Royal Cabinetmakers to King George III, formed a syndicate with William Hallett (d.1781) in 1753 that was based in St Martin's Lane, London.
St Martins Lane was at the heart of the mid-18th century London furniture trade, with many of the most renowned and skilled designers of the time basing their workshops in this area of London. Other members, and cabinetmakers whose premises were in this area included Thomas Chippendale and Mathias Locke.
The members of this syndicate produced some of the finest commissions of furniture in the 18th Century.