This striking commode, as well as the bureau cabinet (lot 160), demonstrate how 18th and 19th century Chinese makers could skillfully adapt Oriental techniques to Western forms that would greatly appeal to the European market. These pieces were made by either copying printed designs or from actual examples that were shipped from Europe to be replicated. Not surprisingly, most Chinese Export furniture is on a smaller, simpler scale such as tripod and work tables, dressing mirrors, folding screens and tea caddies. Large scale case pieces such as this commode would have been both incredibly expensive to ship and much more difficult to execute; they were frequently specific commissions and would have commanded great attention.
The distinctive form of this commode and its unusual feet indicate that it was made for the Danish market and is based specifically on examples from the region of Altona around 1770-80. Closely related examples can be seen in A. Kratz, Altonaer Möbel Des Rokoko und Klassizismus, Hamburg, 1988, pp.210-211, figs.33 and 34. A related Chinese Export commode for the Danish market was sold anonymously at Christie's, New York, 6 June 2013, lot 4 ($127,000).