An Important George III Commode Attributed to the Workshop of Pierre Langlois

Height: 36 ½ " 93cm
Width: 61" 155cm
Depth: 26" 66cm
Origination: English
Circa: 1770–75

Several features of this commode suggest an origin in the workshop of Pierre Langlois, including its bombé form, the skilful interplay of diagonally banded and quartered veneers, and the rough panelled construction of the back and top in black-stained softwood (echoing French construction). The use of sliding shelves to serve as a clothes chest echoes the treatment of the famous ‘Grande Commode Pour Mettre Des Abit’ supplied by Langlois for Croome Court in 1764.


However, the reliance on highly contrasted figured veneer for decorative impact, with three dominant lozenges on the top and the folding doors, is most unusual and has no exact parallel in Pierre Langlois’s accredited work. This refined – almost austere – aesthetic is suggestive of a 1770s date of manufacture, notwithstanding the bombé form. So the commode was very probably made in the period after Pierre Langlois’s death in 1767, when his Tottenham Court Road workshop was carried on by his widow Tracey (to 1773) and then by their son Pierre Daniel Langlois (1774–81). Two auctions of the workshop stock were held during Tracey Langlois’s tenure: in 1771 ‘some of the principal performances of that most ingenious workman Mr PETER LANGLOIS’; and in 1772, ‘Some most elegant and matchless Pieces of inlaid work, begun by that famous artist Mr. Peter Langlois, and finished since his decease’.  These sale announcements suggest that the workshop’s output continued almost unchanged in the first few years after Langlois’s death, relying on the high reputation of his established ‘brand’. The rather different taste attested in the present commode could well reflect some innovations developed soon afterwards.

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