Painted And Decorated Commode

In the possession of C. J. Charles, Esq. 7 ft. long x 3 ft. 3 ins. high x I ft. 0 ins. deep.

supporting spindles of the bookshelves and the lattice-work at the sides are of gilded brass.

Figs. 30, 31, and 32 are two Pergolesi commodes, decorated with ornament and medallions on a painted ground. These two pieces illustrate the endeavour to provide furniture, light in colour, to accord with the white rooms and marble mantelpieces of the Adam period. It was probably found in practice that even satinwood was too heavy in tone for these white apartments, but the result was a stiff artificiality, where the genuine decorative possibilities of fine figured timber were neglected. The taste was, no doubt, an inspiration from the French capital, which culminated in the Empire style of the close of the century. Sheraton did something to stem the tide, and he succeeded, in large measure, in restoring mahogany and satinwood to popular favour. This painted furniture had the serious drawback of being exceedingly prone to damage, and to restore the decoration where, it had been scratched or defaced was a task of considerable difficulty.

Robert Adam's really successful attempts in the

THE SIDE OF THE COMMODE (Fig. 31).

THE SIDE OF THE COMMODE (Fig. 31).

designing of upholstered furniture were very few in number. He found it more practicable, no doubt, to superimpose his details on the chairs and settees designed by Hepplewhite and his contemporaries. A few characteristic examples are given here, but this branch of our subject can be better considered, and at greater length, when the chair work of Hepplewhite is reviewed.

  1. 33 is a mahogany window seat in the characteristic Adam manner, and illustrates a type with which Robert Adam was conspicuously successful, the general form evidently appealing to his sense of the classical. This seat is upholstered with a satin covering, embroidered with silk, which is probably original. Robert Adam evidently took great care to design suitable coverings for his chairs and settees ; in the case of those made for Osterley Park, three or four carefully coloured drawings were often prepared, and discarded, as we can gather from the original sketches in the Soane Museum. This rejection was probably 011 Robert Adam's part rather than on that of his client, and he appears to have been fastidious in the extreme, drawing after drawing, each minutely detailed and tinted, being prepared for the one piece, which, when made, often differed from them all.
  2. 34 is a mahogany arm-chair, the design of which is evidently influenced by the French Louis XVI. to a greater extent than is usual with the work of Adam. Fig. 35 shows his rendering of the wheel-back chair, which was so popular at this date.
  3. 34 is a mahogany arm-chair, the design of which is evidently influenced by the French Louis XVI. to a greater extent than is usual with the work of Adam. Fig. 35 shows his rendering of the wheel-back chair, which was so popular at this date.

small chair.

  1. 37. WARTIF.N'S C.ItAIR.
  2. 36, 37, and 38. mahogany chairs

(from a set comprising II small chairs, 6 wardens' chairs, and I master's chair). In the possession of the Drapers' Company.

Master's Chair.

4 ft. 6 ins. high from floor to top of back.

2 ft. I in. width across front of seat. I ft. 11 i ins. from floor to top of seat.

i ft. ins. depth of seat from back to front.

Warden's Chair.

} ft. 5 ins. high from floor to top of back. I ft. 9 ins. w^H across front of seat, l ft. 9J ins. from floor to top of seat. I ft. 6 ins. depth of seat.

Small Chair.

3 ft. I in. high from floor to top of back. I ft. 9 ins. width across front of seat.

I ft. 7i ins. from floor to top of seat. I ft. 6 ins. depth of seat.

MASTER'S CHAIR.

Fig. 39. MAHOGANY CHAIR.

3 ft. O ins. high from floor to top of back. I ft. IO-J- ins. across front of seat. I ft. 6 ins. depth of seat.

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