Appropriate for the window-pier of a bedroom apartment, this commode-dressing-table's Pan-reeded top is serpentined in a Cupid bow with French cut-corners. Its commode form relates to Thomas Chippendale's pattern for French Commode Tables in The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director, 1754 (pls. 95 and 97), whilst the plinths canted and truss-scrolled brackets also featured in a 1753 pattern for a commode clothes press in the Director (pl. 327).
This mahogany chest relates to a group of similar chests supplied by the 'Dumfries House Cabinet-Maker' - possibly Thomas Chippendale - for Dumfries House, Ayrshire (included in the Dumfries House Christie's sale catalogue, 12-13 July 2007, lots 106, 153, 213, 242, 251 and 252). Although unrecorded in the surviving bills, there are certain constructional features that point to the same workshop and it has been argued that this was in fact Thomas Chippendale's workshop itself. For instance, behind the simple bracket foot, the blocking is laminated and there are nails on the underside for the 'pack thread' used for the protective transportation cover: features found on the mahogany clothes-press attributed to Thomas Chippendale and possibly that invoiced by him on 4 June 1763 as 'A large mahog'y cloaths press with folding doors and sliding shelves of cedar and bays apron 9...' (lot 236). The present commode also has laminated blocking and nails for binding twine attached on the underside. Other characteristics typical of Chippendale's workshop that the present commode displays in common with the rest of the group are: its use of superb quality mahogany, the restrained nature of its design, a red wash to the underside and the two-panelled backboard, which follows the same format as the backboard of lot 106 in the Dumfries House Christie's sale catalogue.
A further related serpentine chest attributed to Thomas Chippendale and probably commissioned by John, Viscount Mountstuart, later 4th Earl and 1st Marquess of Bute, circa 1766 for Cardiff Castle, was also later moved to Dumfries (included in the Dumfries House Christie's sale catalogue, 12 July 2007, lot 85). This chest also shares certain similarities with the current commode, such as its richly figured veneers, the arrangement of four graduated drawers in a serpentine shape, the top drawer lined in mahogany and fitted with compartments, and the use of a slightly more shapely bracket foot than witnessed in the earlier group of chests.
Other similar serpentine chests were supplied by Thomas Chippendale for Ninian Home at Paxton House, Scotland; Henry, 10th Earl of Pembroke at Wilton House, Wiltshire and Sir Edward Knatchbull at Mersham le Hatch, Kent (see C.Gilbert, The Life and Work of Thomas Chippendale, London, 1978, vol. II, figs. 203, 205 and 206). A further commode, originally supplied by Chippendale for Normanton Park, Rutland and now at Grimsthorpe Castle, Lincolnshire, displays these very same constructional hallmarks of laminated feet, red wash, nails for twine and bi-panelled backboard.