A George III sabicu, padouk and gilt-brass mounted serpentine commode attributed to John Cobb
Lot 53
A George III sabicu, padouk and gilt-brass mounted serpentine commode
attributed to John Cobb
Sold for £175,250 (US$ 230,938) inc. premium

Lot Details
A George III sabicu, padouk and gilt-brass mounted serpentine commode attributed to John Cobb A George III sabicu, padouk and gilt-brass mounted serpentine commode attributed to John Cobb A George III sabicu, padouk and gilt-brass mounted serpentine commode attributed to John Cobb
A George III sabicu, padouk and gilt-brass mounted serpentine commode
attributed to John Cobb
The top with a padouk moulded edge above three long graduated cock-beaded drawers with gilt-brass escutcheons and handles and cedarwood linings, the projecting shaped and moulded front corners above a shaped apron and splayed front feet with foliate gilt-brass sabots, the sides with conforming gilt-brass carrying handles, 124cm wide, 67cm deep, 91cm high (48.5in wide, 26in deep, 35.5in high).


  • Provenance: John Douglas-Gould, The Briary, Westgate-on-Sea, Kent and thence by family descent to the vendor.

    The early history of the commode offered here remains undocumented and the point of entry into the Gould family collection has not been established. James Douglas-Gould (1873-1953) owned and ran The Briary as a preparatory school during the early part of the 20th century although continued to live at the house until the 1950s. Douglas Gould was the son of John Gould (born 1836) whose father Joseph Gould(1803-1864) married Eliza Harding at Poltimore,Devon. Eliza was the daughter of Henry Harding, an artist living at Brockhill House,Poltimore. John Gould was one of the couple's six children and married Fanny Green, the daughter of a prosperous London grocer. The couple lived at Bampfylde Lodge and John is believed to have acted as Land Agent for Lord Poltimore of the neighbouring Poltimore House. John and Fanny moved away to live in Florence and later Brussels,from where their son, James Douglas-Gould travelled back to England to attend Sherborne School. John and Fanny finally returned to live in London and resided at 47 Belsize Park. In 1908 Doulglas Gould married Gertrude Wallrock who came from a prosperous family of paint merchants from Broughton in Lancashire.

    John Cobb (1715-1778) worked in premises at 72 St Martin's Lane, London. Little documentation exists regarding his early life. He completed his apprenticeship in 1736 entering into partnership with William Vile in 1751 and taking over the firm upon Vile's retirement in 1764. In 1755 the firm had expanded taking over the neighbouring St Martin's Lane premises of William Hallett (d.1781). By this time Cobb himself held very much a managerial role and was primarily concerned with design and quality control.In 1761 Cobb was granted a royal warrant to supply furniture to the crown under the direction of the Great Wardrobe. In 1755 he married Sukey Grendey, the daughter of the prominent cabinet-maker Giles Grendey. He took the firm in a new direction specialising in marquetry and introducing new woods for inlay such as harewood, burr-yew and fruitwoods, in other examples applied to the bombé form seen here in the 'French manner' of the 1750s introduced to London by Pierre Langlois and popularised by Chippendale's Director.

    Comparable models
    A commode of this was model was supplied by Cobb to James West of Alscot Park, Warwickshire in 1766 and was described as:
    'extra fine wood commode chest of drawers with large handsome wrought furniture, good brass locks etc - £16 (illustrated in H.Honour, Cabinet Makers and Furniture Designers, London, 1969, p.112).

    A commode of this model was sold Christie's, London, 1 July 2004, lot 100 and another example was sold Christie's London, 26 June 1986, lot 136. Both of these example were described as being figured mahogany but would appear from the catalogue images to be sabicu. A model of this type in east Indian rosewood was sold Sotheby's London, 5 July 1996, lot 6. A further example in padouk with some additional mounts was sold Christie's, London, 14 November 1996, lot 120.

    A related example with four drawers and differing apron profiles to the sides was sold Sotheby's London, 12 June 2002, lot 63. Again described as mahogany but very probably sabicu.

    Other commodes attributed to Cobb on the basis of shared characteristics with the Alscot park group include; a pair formerly at St Giles House, Dorset sold Christie's London, 11 November 1999, lot 100, a commode formerly with Earl Howe at Penn House, Buckinghamshire and now in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and recorded in the Untermeyer Collection.
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations


If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Wine, Coins & Medals and Motor Cars and Motorcycles:
A successful bidder at this sale will be required to pay Bonhams 1793 Limited ("Bonhams") a premium calculated as follows:
25% on the first £100,000 of the hammer price
20% on the excess of £100,001 and up to £2,000,000 of the hammer price
12% on the excess of £2,000,001 of the hammer price

VAT at 20% will be payable on the amount of the premium.

The premium is payable for the services to be provided by Bonhams in the Buyer's Agreement which is contained in the catalogue for this Sale and for the opportunity to bid for the Lot at the Sale.

Payment Notices

Payment in advance: by cash, cheque with banker's card, credit card, bank draft or traveller's cheque.

Payment at collection: by credit or debit card.

Credit card charges: a surcharge of 2% is applicable when using Mastercard, Visa and overseas debit cards.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

  1. Fine Furniture (UK)
    Auction administration - English Furniture and Works of Art
Similar Items