Relevant categories: Cabinets and Chests
(Above photo - French Empire Commode - Antique Chest of Drawers )
French commodes were first made in the 18th century. Back then, a commode was basically a chest of drawers or cabinet. It had a lower height that didn’t go above that of a dado rail. However, this piece of furniture had a more extended width compared to the length. Commodes were as functional as they were decorative, thanks to the elaborate veneers that were used on them.
(Above photo - Pair Empire Commodes - Ormolu Cherub Linke Chest Drawers )
Original commodes were made from ebony, a black hardwood from the tropics, considered a luxury by the French bourgeoisie. To create beautiful pieces of furniture, the black ebony was inlaid with gilt bronze (ormolu) drawer pulls. With the kind of contrast created, French commodes were elegant to behold. The top surface was usually covered with marble slabs matching the chimneypiece.
(Above photo - Pair Antique French Commodes )
Apart from having elaborate decorations, commodes stood on cabriole legs with short feet. They were meant to conspicuously stand out in a room. Mostly, it would be placed against the pier spanning two windows. The back was flat, which is the reason it could easily stand against a wall. However, later commode designs took on a more rectilinear shape with straight legs. Some users of commodes preferred putting large mirrors on the walls above the top. When placed against a chimneypiece, two commodes would be used together. Alternatively, identical French commodes would be placed, one each, on the end walls.
(Above photo - Pair French Commodes Linke Louis XVI Chest Drawers Cabinet )
Now to the functionality of a commode. As much as commodes provided a sense of elegance in a room, they were also highly functional. The drawer provided a lot of space for storing a lot of items. The marble top also provided space on which several items could be placed. Here, one could display flower vases, sculptures, and so on. When paired with a mirror, a commode could serve as a dressing table.
By the mid-18th century, the French commode had become a trendy piece of furniture. It was used across Europe in humble homes as well those owned by aristocracy and royalty. So, it was basically a must-have for people from across the spectrum. At that time, no one could have predicted that the commode would become the predecessor of what people call “a chest of drawers.”
(Above photo - Large French Chest - Wide Commode Linke empire )
Depending on the current period, commodes were made in a different style. For example, during the rococo period, the commode has a three-dimensional surface. Another style was the rectilinear neoclassical commode, which had deep drawers and feet in a tapered, turned shape. In both cases, the commodes had a central section composed of a cabinet. Some were corner cabinets, whose primary purpose was to flank the main commode. By design, not all commodes had enclosing drawers.
Want to buy a French commode? You can find one in any shop where they sell antiques. The best would be our own shop. We have all types of antiques in stock, so you can be sure to find what you want when you visit us. Our staff will handle you professionally and help you make theright decision.
Pair Painted French Commodes V...
Pair French Commodes Linke Lou...
Pair Empire Commodes - Ormolu ...
Having an eclectic kitchen can be as easy as buying a set of harlequin chairs. That simple action will not only add life to an otherwise boring kitchen but also give the space a little of your personality. To achieve an eclectic kitchen interior, you should be ready to mix various elements that work together to create contrast. For instance you could try blending traditional elements with their contemporary counterparts while choosing a color scheme that works for you.
An antique library table is the best way to turn your home office into a stylish yet highly functional space. It was a constant feature in its heyday in private homes and public libraries. You can buy one today, both for decorative and practical purposes.
Bronze cherubs are collectible items you can use to decorate different spaces in your home. They vary in size and can take various forms, depending on the artist. You can buy them online or in-store.