This attractive commode's exaggerated bombé shape, cartouche-form drawers and delicate decoration of landscape vignettes and floral sprays make it a typical example of mid-18th century Venetian furniture. With its amusing and naturalistic painted decoration, lacquerware produced in Venice and Genoa differs from other centers, which were strictly imitating oriental and chinoiserie lacquer. The intaiador executed and gessoed the carcases and supplied them to depentori who decorated the pieces with their own interpretations, often leaving little oriental influence to their production. It was then varnished with eighteen layers of sandracca.
The rage for lacquered furniture was sparked by the increasing frequency of trade with the Orient. It reached its apogee in the mid 18th century as Venetian aristocrats decorated entire rooms in their Palazzi in this new fashion. The best examples still visible today are probably the rooms of the Palazzo Ca'Rezzonico in Venice. Some are entirely furnished with chinoiserie-decorated lacquer furniture, while other rooms display furniture with floral painted lacquer and gilt-scroll decoration as illustrated in G. Mariacher, Ca' Rezzonico,, Milan, 1967, 165-168.
A related commode was sold by the Order of the Trustees of the William Rockhill Nelson Trust, Christie's, New York, 27 September 2007, lot 185.