A fine George III mahogany serpentine dressing commode, circa 1770 Probably by Gillows of Lancaster
Lot 946
A fine George III mahogany serpentine dressing commode, circa 1770 Probably by Gillows of Lancaster
Sold for £25,200 (US$ 42,356) inc. premium
Auction Details
The Chester Sale Chester
18 Mar 2010 11:00 GMT

Auction 18173
A fine George III mahogany serpentine dressing commode, circa 1770 Probably by Gillows of Lancaster A fine George III mahogany serpentine dressing commode, circa 1770 Probably by Gillows of Lancaster A fine George III mahogany serpentine dressing commode, circa 1770 Probably by Gillows of Lancaster A fine George III mahogany serpentine dressing commode, circa 1770 Probably by Gillows of Lancaster A fine George III mahogany serpentine dressing commode, circa 1770 Probably by Gillows of Lancaster A fine George III mahogany serpentine dressing commode, circa 1770 Probably by Gillows of Lancaster
Lot Details
Lots 898 - 963: Various Properties
A fine George III mahogany serpentine dressing commode, circa 1770
Probably by Gillows of Lancaster
The top with moulded edge and serpentine front and sides above four graduated and cockbeaded long drawers, the uppermost with a baize-covered writing slide enclosing a fitted interior of covered divisions, lidded boxes, a rack of seven shaped divisions and a counter or coin rack, all around a now vacant well once fitted with a rising mirror, with a swing-out compartment to the right drawer lining, the sides of the chest straight but outswept at the canted front corners, raised on bracket feet, 105cm wide x 58.5cm deep x 85.5cm high, (41" wide x 23" deep x 33.5" high)

Footnotes

  • The attribution of this chest to Gillows of Lancaster is based upon its striking similarity - in both form and construction - to two commodes illustrated in the second volume of Susan Stuart's Gillows of Lancaster and London, 1730 - 1840 (2008), pp. 10 - 13.

    The first, made in the Lancaster workshop for the Duke of Dorset in 1772, bears a very rare despatch label addressed to the premises of Gillows & Taylor at 176 Oxford Street, London. It has a 3ft toilet drawer fitted with the usual compartments, an ink drawer and finely inlaid canted front corners.

    The second illustrated commode - now in the Tatton Park Collection, and with blind fretwork-carved front corners - bears neither a stamp, signature or despatch label, but is attributed to Gillows by Susan Stuart not only on the basis of its identical shape and proportion to the commode made for the Duke of Dorset, but also because its fitted drawer shares many features in common with one sketched out in Gillows' Waste Book in 1781. The sketch shows eight distinctive shaped divisions, lidded compartments, boxes and, at the centre of the drawer, a rising mirror. Although lacking its baize-lined writing slide, its mirror and seemingly some of the covers for the compartments, the Tatton Park chest and the drawer sketched in 1781 have much in common.

    The fitted drawer of the present lot - which retains its slide but also lacks its mirror - bears an even greater resemblance to the sketch of 1781. Albeit with only seven shaped divisions for combs or razors, they are in exactly the same place as shown in the sketch, and the present lot has both removable lidded boxes, and covered compartments, of various sizes. The top drawer of the present lot also had an ink drawer to its right lining, although it appears that it has been replaced by a swing-out compartment which lacks divisions. This is a feature seen on other pieces of known Gillows' furniture, like the chest of drawers made for the Strickland's of Sizergh Castle in 1762 (see p. 8, plate 530).

    In addition, the present lot bears features of construction shared by other pieces known to be by Gillows. One of a pair of double chests, also made for Sizergh Castle in 1758, has a writing or brushing slide with corner joints strengthened by means of a thin wedge driven into the joint at an angle (see p. 6, plate 528). Each of the lids to the boxes and compartments of the dressing drawer to the present lot were made in the same way.
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