Vile and Cobb were, along with Chippendale, Mayhew and Ince, Linnell, Langlois, France and Bradburn, Gordon and Taitt, Marsh and Tatham, Seddon and Gillows, among the celebrated cabinet-makers commissioned by George, 6th Earl of Coventry, to supply furniture and furnishings for Croome Court. Croome Court - to which Vile and Cobb supplied well over 1300 items between 1757-1773 - was their most prestigious 'country house' contract.
An interesting characteristic of this chest is the design of the lower drawer which incorporates the apron. Such a feature, often incorporated in 18th century French commodes, is rather atypical of 18th century English construction which generally saw the apron as part of the carcase. This feature does however occur in furniture made by John Cobb, such as a commode he supplied to James West at Alscot Park in 1766 (L. Wood, Catalogue of Commodes, Merseyside, 1994, p. 50, fig. 35). A pair of commodes attributed to Cobb, supplied to Anthony, 4th Earl of Shaftesbury for St Giles's House, Dorset also features the lower drawer as part of the apron: The pair was sold by the Earl of Shaftesbury, Christie's, London, 11 November 1999, lot 100.
John Cobb (c.1715-1778) established his partnership with William Vile (c.1715-1767) circa 1751 and expanded four years later to absorb the neighbouring St. Martin's Lane premises of William Hallett (c.1707-1781). Vile and Cobb's contract with Croome Court began in 1757. Although Vile and Cobb's partnership lasted until 1764, three years before Vile's death, Cobb continued to supply furniture for Croome Court until 1773 (G. Beard, Dictionary of English Furniture Makers, 1660-1840, 1986, pp. 182-184, and pp. 926-927.)
On the accession of George III, Vile and Cobb were granted a royal warrant to supply furniture to the Crown under the direction of the Master of the Great Wardrobe. Some of Vile and Cobb's most celebrated commissions are discussed by G. Beard, 'Vile and Cobb, eighteenth century London furniture-makers', Antiques, June 1990, pp. 1394-1405. For further information on the partnership of Vile & Cobb, refer to lot 145.