Collection of Principessa Ismene Chigi Della Rovere. A Louis XV ormolu-mounted black and gilt vernis Martin commode, circa 1740, in the manner of Bernard II Van Risen Burgh. Estimate £25,000 – £40,000 ($37,700 – $60,320). Photo Christie’s Image Ltd 2015
The serpentine moulded Brêche d’Alep marble top, above two drawers sans traverse, decorated with figures in landscapes, on cabriole legs headed by cabochon, rocaille and foliate chutes, terminating in pierced scrolled sabots, bearing spurious stamps ‘B.V.R.B.’ and ‘JME’; 33 ½ in. (85 cm.) high; 48 ¾ in. (124 cm.) wide; 24 in. (61 cm.) deep
Provenance: Antiquités Masi, Bealieu-sur-mer, from whom purchased by Principessa Ismene Chigi Della Rovere in 1975.
Note: This elegant Louis XV commode dates from circa 1740 and illustrates both the European passion for using materials from the Far East and the Parisian taste of transforming such materials into the most luxurious pieces of the time. This fashion of mounting lacquer onto furniture was promoted by the marchands-mercier of Paris in the 1740s and 1750s, such as Lazare Duvaux and Thomas-Joachim Hébert. These marchands-mercier held a monopoly on the import of such precious goods from the Far East as lacquer and porcelain. This commode, decorated with Vernis Martin panels, is a demonstration of the Paris fashion for creating decoration in imitation of Oriental lacquer, due to the increasingly high cost of imports from the Far East. Vernis Martin was created by the Martin brothers, Guillaume and Etienne-Simon, who were instrumental in developing the technique.
Christie’s. THE COLLECTIONS OF PRINCIPESSA ISMENE CHIGI DELLA ROVERE AND A NOBLE GENOESE FAMILY, 4 February 2015, London, South Kensington