A pair of Empire period Italian commodes in burr elm and walnut, of unusual form and action, the original striated grey and marble tops above a gilt-metal moulding cast with anthemia on a punched burnished ground, the concealed drawer of the frieze between gilt-bronze female heads of the tapered pilasters either side, the slightly recessed fronts composed of a single rectangular panel, the raised walnut frame of which has very fine gilt-metal quarter-round mouldings within it, the fronts on a spring release, the activating key also operating the lock of the top drawer, the base of the front panel lifting forward and upwards, sliding within the body above, and revealing two long drawers, each with twin gilt-bronze swing handles.
Lombardy, circa 1820
Provenance: Mr and Mrs James A Burden, New York and Syosset, Long Island.
A similar pair of early 19th century commodes, with marble tops, is in the Tireli Collection, Parma (Guiseppe Cirillo and Giovanni Godi, 'Il Mobile A Parma, Fra Barocco E Romanticismo 1600-1860', 1983, pl. 637, p. 228). Another pair of early 19th century mahogany commodes, in the Pitti Palace, Florence, appear to have the same central frieze mount as on these present commodes (op.cit.,pl. 614,p. 222).
The unusual opening action is paralleled in the work of Christopher Fuhrlohg.
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