Commissioned by Sir William Baker, alderman of London, for his country villa at Bayfordbury, Hertfordshire which had been designed by the celebrated architect Sir Robert Taylor (d.1788), this commode corresponds in many ways with Taylor's architecture. Its pilasters, enriched with ribboned fret-work, especially relate to other furniture in the house, including a library table and arm-chairs (illustrated in H. Avray Tipping, 'Bayfordbury', English Homes, Period VI, London, 1926, p. 381). The richly figured mahogany of this commode further demonstrates this significant provenance as mahogany was liberally used throughout the house. Completed by Taylor and ready for inhabitation by 1762, suggesting a terminal date for the commode's execution, the house was later described as having been fitted up with 'a great deal of...carving-handsome in its way, but making the spaces already small, look much smaller' (noted in 1826 by Mrs Jenkins and quoted Tipping, op. cit., vol. I, p. 376).
While Thomas Chippendale is the most likely maker of the commode, its design can be related to William and John Linnell. This commode has non-swivelling wooden casters, being fitted for a window-bay, as illustrated in a contemporary room-elevation executed by Messrs. W. & J. Linnell of Berkeley Square (see H. Hayward, 'The Drawings of John Linnell in the Victoria and Albert Museum, Furniture History, 1969, p. 107 and fig. 162). Fitted with a dressing-slide, it is likely to have been made for a single-windowed bedroom apartment, while its companion commode would have been supplied for the adjoining room (the latter, illustrated in situ in P. Macquoid and R. Edwards, The Dictionary of English Furniture, London, rev. edn., 1954, vol. II p. 49, fig. 48). Whereas the companion piece is fitted with drawers, this one has a 'commode' base and doors constructed from a single plank of mahogany, with the right door being cut and inverted from that on the left. It also bears comparison to the breakfront bookcase at Kedleston Hall, designed by Robert Adam and supplied to Lord Scarsdale in 1760, with its blind fretwork frieze and identical handles, illustrated in H. Hayward and P. Kirkham, William and John Linnell, London, 1980, vol. II p. 8, fig. 12.
A commode from the same original source and now in a private collection has the same handles and the most unusual feature of concave quarter-fillets, a form of construction seen on documented furniture by Thomas Chippendale (d.1778) of St. Martin's Lane, such as the Messer Commode, supplied to Sir Rowland Winn, 5th Baronet, and sold from the Collection of the late Samuel Messer, Christie's London, 5 December 1991, lot 130. Its serpentined form with triple carved pilasters relates in particular to a 'French Commode' pattern illustrated in Thomas Chippendale, The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director, 3rd edn., 1762, pl. LXVIII. In addition, the same fine quality mahogany and French 'picturesque' handles feature on a remarkable bookcase that Chippendale supplied about 1760 for Pembroke House, Whitehall (see C. Gilbert, The Life and Work of Thomas Chippendale, London, 1978, vol. II, fig.66).