Adrien Faizelot Delorme, maître in 1748.
This elegantly serpentined commode is embellished with marquetry of loose bouquets in a lozenge-rayed tablet in the flanking side medallions as well as in their spandrels, while the various compartments are elaborately fretted around flower-festooned ormolu mounts. Minerva's 'draco' serpents, providing drawer-handles, emerge from the 'picturesque' scalloped and foliated cartouche framing the tablet, while Venus's shell badge crowns its central reed-wrapped escutcheon. Nicholas Pineau displayed similar serpent-entwined and Venus shell-enriched cartouches in his designs for girandoles (illustrate in T. Strange, French Interiors, Furniture, Decoration, etc., London, 3rd ed., 1950, p. 229).
THE GROUP OF RELATED COMMODES
The Rothschild Blackwell commode belongs to a small group of very similar commodes, all with cartouche-shaped ormolu mounts on the front and the sides and distinctive dragon-head handles, which have been attributed to Delorme on the basis of an example in the Petit Palais commode stamped by Delorme (illustrated in P. Verlet, Les ébénistes du XVIIIe siècle français, 1963, p. 116). A recent discovery during restoration has revealed that this commode, with flower-filled cornucopiae marquetry, also bears the stamp of Pierre Roussel (maître ébéniste in 1748). This would suggest that Delorme, acting as a marchand-ébéniste, was the designer of this model of commode with its distinctive mounts, while the execution was carried out by other cabinet-makers, in this case Roussel. Other commodes in the group include: - a commode stamped by Delorme sold from the collection of the late Matthew Schutz, Sotheby's New York, 9 December 1994, lot 185. ($225,500)
- a commode attributed to Delorme, sold by The Lady Janet Douglas Pennant, Penrhyn Castle, North Wales, Sotheby's London, 17 July 1953, lot 160.
- a commode attributed to Delorme, sold by the Hon. Mrs. Price, Sotheby's London, 13 December 1974, lot 29, and sold again anonymously, Ader Picard Tajan, 19 March 1981, lot 381.
- a commode attributed to Delorme sold from the collection of the Margraves and Grand Dukes of Baden, Sotheby's house sale, 5 October 1995, lot 128. (DM 540,500)
ADRIEN FAIZELOT DELORME
Adrien Delorme, renowned for his skill in marquetry, is the most famous member of a family of Parisian cabinet-makers. His father François Delorme (d. 1768), and his brothers, Jean-Louis and Alexis, were all maître ébénistes. Adrien became a maître-ébéniste in June 1748 and moved from his father's workshops in the rue Tiquetonne to the rue du Temple, where he operated as a marchard-ébéniste. Between 1768 and 1770, he was a juror of his guild and in 1783 his stock was auctioned following his retirement.
Despite the longevity of his career, Delorme seems to have stuck closely to the Louis XV style, and produced both Chinese lacquer and japanned pieces, however his most distinguished work consisted of small pieces of furniture embellished with floral and scroll marquetry on a zebra-striped light-wood ground forming a chevron pattern (A. Pradère, French Furniture Makers, London, 1989, p. 181).
His work can be seen in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; The Louvre and Carnavalet Museum, Paris; The Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon; Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire and The Hillwood Museum, Washington DC.