Width: 48" 122cm
Depth: 25" 63.5cm
These outstanding commodes are strikingly similar to commodes supplied to Edward, 5th Lord Leigh at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire in circa 1763, the year he came of age. In this period the firm of William Gomm & Son, cabinet-maker and upholsterer of Clerkenwell Close, London, were the principal suppliers of furniture at Stoneleigh Park; the commission from 12 May 1763 to October of the following year totalled a substantial £818 9s (Ed. G. Beard, C. Gilbert, Dictionary of English Furniture Makers 1660-1840, 1986, p. 350). At least six ‘Exceeding fine Serpentine Commode Dressing Tables’ were supplied to Lord Leigh by William Gomm & Son, five of these were charged at 12 guineas each and one at 15 guineas.
The existence of a design for a related chest of drawers is included in Gomm’s sketchbook dating from the early 1760s (now in the John Downs Collection, Winterthur Library, Delaware, USA), illustrated in L. Boynton, ‘William & Richard Gomm’, Burlington Magazine, June 1980, fig. 33, helps support the attribution of this group to Gomm. Significantly, the group include commodes that have been in major collections of English furniture and illustrated in some of the more significant books on the subject.
Commodes from this group are illustrated in R.W. Symonds, Masterpieces of English Furniture and Clocks, London, 1940, p.39, fig.28; another, with carving between the drawers formerly in the collection of Viscount Enfield, is discussed in P. Macquoid, The Age of Mahogany, London, 1906, p.146, fig. 129; another is illustrated in R.W. Symonds, Furniture Making in Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century England, London, 1955, pp.110-111, figs.163 and 164; and a final commode from Moccas Court, Herefordshire, sold from the collection of H. J. Joel, Childwickbury, Hertfordshire, Christie’s House sale, 15 May 1978, lot 94.
One commode purchased by William James prior to 1912, possibly from George Sinclair, Shaftesbury Avenue, London, in May 1887 for £20.0s.0d.
Possibly: William James, Inventory, WDMS. 3263, 1882-1904. ’21. Chippendale chest of drawers…. Sinclair. May 1887…£20.0s.0d.’
West Dean Park, Inventory 1912, Vol. I WDMS. 336, p. 120 – VIOLET BEDROOM – A 3’9″ mahogany Commode of 4 long drawers, carved moulding, serpentine shaped front with carved scroll trusses, brass drop handles.
The Burlington Magazine, June 1980, Lindsay Boynton, ‘William and Richard Gomm’, pp. 395-400, fig. 33
Geofferey Beard and Christopher Gilbert, Dictionary of English Furniture Makers 1660-1840, 1986, pp. 115 and 349-350
Sally Jeffery, The Mansion House, 1993, p. 162, pl. 136, A