An extremely fine and very important late 18th century harewood ormolu mounted demi-lune marquetry commode attributed to Mayhew and Ince, and the mounts to Diedrich Anderson, the semi-circular top mounted with a gadrooned ormolu banded edge and inlaid with a half-fan medallion and banded with a border of satinwood and tulipwood heart-shaped foliate chains, the frieze concealing a central drawer and two hinged drawers inlaid with inverted semi-circular marquetry lunettes with swagged harebells divided by urns, above three tulipwood crossbanded central drawers with the original foliate drop ring handles, flanked by two curved cupboards enclosing a single shelf, inlaid with classical urns hung with ribbon-tied berried swags and divided by two uprights inlaid with flowering branches, the original inverted bell-shaped acanthus ormolu mounted front feet with fluted blocks and later conforming cast back feet.
This commode is an exciting discovery, being the lost companion piece from an extremely important pair designed in the most refined neoclassical Etruscan taste and attributed to the fashionable cabinet-makers John Mayhew (d. 1811) and William Ince (1758/9–1804), who supplied many of the great collectors of their day and ranked the King, the Duke of Manchester, the Earl of Coventry and the Earl of Kerry among their distinguished royal and aristocratic clients. The companion to this commode was formerly in the celebrated collection of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Tritton that was assembled during the 1930s at Godmersham Park, Kent.
The fashion for Etruscan decoration, with its linearity and browns, oranges and blacks, was started by Robert Adam (1728–1792), who was heavily influenced by the designs of published vases in the famous collection of Sir William Hamilton. So it is interesting that it was for such an interior that Adam designed one of his most extravagant pieces of furniture, a commode, which was supplied to the Countess of Derby’s dressing room at Derby House, London, in 1775.
H. Roberts, The Derby House Commode, The Burlington Magazine, May 1985, pp. 275–82.
F.L. Hinckley, Hepplewhite, Sheraton & Regency Furniture, New York 1987, p. 209, ill. 348.
Private Collection, England, since the 1950's and by descent.
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