The fashion for floral-inlaid and ormolu-mounted commodes in the French 'picturesque' manner, was popularised in London in the 1750s by the Tottenham Court Road ébéniste Pierre Langlois (d. 1767). One such Langlois commode 'inscrutez de fleurs en bois et marqueteries' featured in an illustrated trade-sheet issued by the cabinet-maker, who specialised in furniture 'enjolivee de ornement de bronze dorée'.
This commode's elegant bowfronted top is ray-parquetried around a fruit-basket 'medallion', enclosed in a ribbon that is inlaid with palm-flowers in the spandrels, and ormolu-framed with reed-gadroons and Roman acanthus. Flower-vase 'medallions' enliven the sides of the commode, whose serpentined angles are ormolu-framed with flowers and foliage. Likewise, its drawer 'tablets' are inlaid with palms in the spandrels, and with flowered sprigs issuing from its laurel-wreathed ormolu escutcheons. Other shields or escutcheons are tied by reeds to the handles' acanthus-flowered paterae, while the commode apron displays an ormolu cartouche of flowered acanthus.
The shield-centred handles feature on a pair of marquetry commodes, which Langlois is thought to have supplied in 1766 for The Vyne in Hampshire (P. Thornton and W. Rieder, 'Pierre Langlois, Ebéniste', Connoisseur, March 1972, part III, p. 183, fig. 16, and C. Gilbert, Pictorial Dictionary of Marked London Furniture 1700-1840, Leeds, 1996, p. 502, fig. 1034).
As well as the apron mount, its French 'goût Grec' escutcheons, in the manner illustrated in J. F. Naufforge's, Réceuil élementaire d'Architecture, vol. VIII (1768), also feature on a pair of flower-painted corner-cupboards (encoignures) in the collection of George III. The latter also relate to a painted commode that is likely to have been executed in about 1770 for Sir John Hussey Delaval, 1st Lord Delaval (d. 1808) (L. Wood, Catalogue of Commodes, London, 1994, no. 6, pp. 79 ff.).
The 'medallion' of a trompe l'oeil fruit-basket 'medallion' relates to a fruit-tazza 'medallion' displayed on a commode that was formerly in the collection of Dudley, 1st Lord Tweedmouth (d. 1894), and is now in the Victoria and Albert Museum (L. Wood, ibid, no. 7, p. 93, figs. 81 and 82). A similar commode, lacking marquetry decoration, was sold anonymously, in these Rooms, 21 April 1994, lot 135.
The same angle mounts feature on a closely related marquetry commode, that is likely to have been purchased around 1770 by the 9th Duke of Somerset from the Marlborough cabinet-maker Henry Hill (d. 1777) (The commode, now at Maiden Bradley, Somerset is discussed together with other related commodes in L. Wood, ibid., no. 4, p. 71, fig. 55).