These neo-classical satinwood and painted commodes are closely related to a pair of commodes, which differ only in their lack of painted decoration to the ovals, formerly in the collection of Charles Richard John Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough. They were sold to Irwin Untermyer, and are now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (Y. Hackenbroch, English furniture: with some furniture of other countries in the Irwin Untermyer Collection, Cambridge, Mass., 1958, pl. 287, fig. 329). The commodes offered here can be compared aesthetically to three commodes attributed to Thomas Chippendale Junior, which feature marquetry rather than painted Grecian laurel wreaths to their fronts: one, made en suite with two pier tables, almost certainly supplied by Chippendale to Sir James Ibbetson, 2nd Baronet (1745-95) for Denton Hall, Yorkshire, now in the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; and a pair of commodes, previously with Ronald Phillips Ltd., one of which was sold Christie’s, London, 14 June 2001, lot 90 (£135,750 inc. premium; the Denton commode and one of the pair are illustrated in J. Goodison, The Life and Work of Thomas Chippendale Junior, London, 2017, figs. 146-149). A commode of this form but with painted oval medallions depicting allegorical figures is in the Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight, although no cabinet-maker can be identified (L. Wood, Catalogue of Commodes, London, 1994, pp. 283-289, no. 37). Similarly, another commode in the collection is decorated with a marquetry husk-swagged urn with a laurel wreath, which is likened to a number of other commodes with laurel wreath ornamentation almost certainly from the same workshop, one in the Royal Ontario Museum (ibid., pp. 293-298, no. 39, and figs. 265-267).
These commodes have an interesting provenance having formerly been in the collection of Jeffrey, 1st Baron Amherst of Holmesdale (1717-1797) at Montreal Park, Riverhead, Kent. Lord Amherst was Commander-in-chief of the British forces in North America during the Seven Years War and become the first British Governor-General in the territories that are now Canada. He played an active role in the American Revolutionary War, and returned home to organise Britain's land defences in anticipation of a French invasion, which never materialised. Montreal Park in Kent was built in the 1760s following Lord Amherst’s return from Canada. After the death of his first wife in 1765, Amherst razed the family seat at Riverhead (which he had inherited on the death of his brother Sackville in 1763) and built a new house that he christened ‘Montreal’. On 26 March 1767, at St James's, Westminster, he married Elizabeth Cary (1739/40-1830), the daughter of Lieutenant-General George Cary. Lord Amherst had no legitimate children, and on his death the estate passed to his nephew William Pitt Amherst (1773-1857), who in 1823 was appointed Governor-General of India.