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Antique French Goncalo Alves Marquetry Commode Chest C.1830

Antique French Goncalo Alves Marquetry Commode Chest C.1830

Antique French Goncalo Alves Marquetry Commode Chest C.1830


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About this item

This is a beautiful antique French Goncalo Alves, satinwood and tulipwood marquetry inlaid  commode, circa 1830 in date. 

This gorgeous commode has three capacious drawers for ample storage, and was inspired by the Louis XV Revival. Elaborately detailed, the commode features superbly executed floral marquetry of  various specimen woods with a central panel depicting a lady strolling with flowers in the folds of her dress. 

The lavish marquetry decoration is further complimented by the kingwood  and tulipwood banding and the exceptional quality ormolu mounts that retain their original gilding.

The proverbial cherry on the top is the stunning "Breche Violette" marble top that surmounts this wonderful commode..

The chest rests on elegant splayed feet that are fitted with superb pierced ormolu sabots.

Purchased on our last buying trip to Paris this is a stunning piece that will attract attention wherever placed.


In excellent condition having been beautifully cleaned and polished in our workshops, please see photos for confirmation.


Dimensions in cm:

Height 90 x Width 116 x Depth 66

Dimensions in inches:

Height 2 feet, 11 inches x Width 3 feet, 10 inches x Depth 2 feet, 2 inches

Gonçalo alves
is a hardwood. It is sometimes referred to as tigerwood — a name that underscore the wood's often dramatic, contrasting color scheme, that some compare to rosewood.

Violet Breche marble
is extracted from the town of Serravezza, near to the Carrara region in Italy. It is a very heterogeneous marble made up of hues going from white to dark violet, whilst passing through shades of pink, all combined together with a violet coloured cement.

In his Dictionary of Business and Industry, Blanqui describes Violet Breche. “This marble that is frequently used on the most beautiful churches in Italy, and is found on several tables and columns in the galleries of the Louvre Museum, offers an elegant detail to monumental architecture. The quarries that produce it are several miles from Serravezza, and are found in the commune of Stazzema. When the fragments which make up Violet Breche are large, in other words, when the lilacs, pinks, and whites, are prominent, it can only be used for monumental architecture, but when the colours are less prominent and equally spread across the whole surface of the marble, it can be used to make fireplaces and luxurious furniture.”

is decorative artistry where pieces of material (such as wood, mother of pearl, pewter, brass silver or shell) of different colours are inserted into surface wood veneer to form intricate patterns such as scrolls or flowers.

The technique of veneered marquetry had its inspiration in 16th century Florence. Marquetry elaborated upon Florentine techniques of inlaying solid marble slabs with designs formed of fitted marbles, jaspers and semi-precious stones. This work, called opere di commessi, has medieval parallels in Central Italian "Cosmati"-work of inlaid marble floors, altars and columns. The technique is known in English as pietra dura, for the "hardstones" used: onyx, jasper, cornelian, lapis lazuli and colored marbles. In Florence, the Chapel of the Medici at San Lorenzo is completely covered in a colored marble facing using this demanding jig-sawn technique.

Techniques of wood marquetry were developed in Antwerp and other Flemish centers of luxury cabinet-making during the early 16th century. The craft was imported full-blown to France after the mid-seventeenth century, to create furniture of unprecedented luxury being made at the royal manufactory of the Gobelins, charged with providing furnishings to decorate Versailles and the other royal residences of Louis XIV. Early masters of French marquetry were the Fleming Pierre Golle and his son-in-law, André-Charles Boulle, who founded a dynasty of royal and Parisian cabinet-makers (ébénistes) and gave his name to a technique of marquetry employing shell and brass with pewter in arabesque or intricately foliate designs.

Ormolu (from French 'or moulu', signifying ground or pounded gold) is an 18th-century English term for applying finely ground, high-carat gold in a mercury amalgam to an object of bronze.The mercury is driven off in a kiln leaving behind a gold-coloured veneer known as 'gilt bronze'.

The manufacture of true ormolu employs a process known as mercury-gilding or fire-gilding, in which a solution of nitrate of mercury is applied to a piece of copper, brass, or bronze, followed by the application of an amalgam of gold and mercury. The item was then exposed to extreme heat until the mercury burned off and the gold remained, adhered to the metal object.


W116.0 x H90.0 x D66.0 cm



Date of manufacture





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