These chests-of-drawers were almost certainly made by the cabinet-maker and upholsterer William Gomm & Son (circa 1697-1780) of Clerkenwell Close, London, based on a design for a related chest included in Gomm’s sketchbook, circa early 1760s (now in the John Downs Collection, Winterthur Library, illustrated L. Boynton, ‘William & Richard Gomm’, Burlington Magazine, June 1980, fig. 33). This attribution is reinforced by commodes supplied to Edward, 5th Lord Leigh at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, in circa 1763, by Gomm & Son, who were the principal suppliers of furniture to Stoneleigh Park in this period. The commission from 12 May 1763 to October 1764 totalled £8 18s 9d and comprised six ‘Exceeding fine Serpentine Commode Dressing Tables’; five charged at 12 guineas each and one at 15 guineas (ed. G. Beard, C. Gilbert, Dictionary of English Furniture Makers 1660-1840, 1986, p. 350). A pair of commodes and a single commode removed from Stoneleigh and sold by the Right Hon. Lord Leigh at Christie’s, London, 3 May 1962 (lots 53 and 54) are presumably three of these pieces as they share the same serpentine form and distinctive carved scrolling angles; lot 54 was sold again, anonymously, at Christie's, London, 5 July 1990, lot 149.
Commodes from this group are illustrated in: P. Macquoid, The Age of Mahogany, London, 1906, p. 146, fig. 129 (from the collection of Viscount Enfield); R.W. Symonds, Masterpieces of English Furniture and Clocks, London, 1940, p. 39, fig. 28; R.W. Symonds, Furniture Making in Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century England, London, 1955, pp. 110-111, figs. 163 and 164.
Other related examples include: a single chest-of-drawers formerly at Moccas Court, Herefordshire, sold from the collection of H.J. Joel, Childwickbury, Hertfordshire, Christie's House sale, 15 May 1978, lot 94; another pair sold anonymously at Christie’s, New York, 27 January 1990, lot 121; a single chest-of-drawers sold from the collection of Sir Francis Corbett, Elsham Hall, Lincolnshire, and subsequently the Hascoe Family Collection, Sotheby’s, New York, 23 January 2011, lot 231; a single chest-of-drawers sold anonymously at Christie’s, London, 23 May 2013, lot 200 (£169,875 including premium); a pair of commodes sold Christie’s, New York, 7-8 October 2015, lot 140; and most recently, a single chest was sold from the John Shaffer Phipps (1874-1958) Collection, New York, at Woolley & Wallis, Salisbury, 5 October 2016, lot 132.
One of the commodes from this near pair was formerly in the collection of William Dodge James (1854-1912), father to the surrealist, Edward James (1907-1984), and was recorded in the Violet Bedroom at West Dean House, West Sussex in 1912. This commode is stamped 'W. Dawson', which is likely to denote the name of a hitherto unknown mid-18th century cabinet-maker recorded in the Dictionary of English Furniture Makers, p. 235: 'Name impressed on high quality mahogany Rococo card table with concertina action' (although the dictionary does not cite where the card table is to be found). It is possible that this cabinet-maker was a journeyman working for William Gomm.