Joseph Schmitz, matre in 1761.
An almost identical commode, also by Schmitz, was in the collection of Samy Chalom, Paris and is illustrated in P. Siguret, Le Style Louis XV, Fribourg, 1965, p.43,
SIR WILLIAM BASS, Bt.
Sir William Bass, Bart. was the nephew of Sir Michael Arthur Bass (1837-1907), created Baron Burton in 1886. Upon the latter's death, the Barony passed to his daughter, Baroness Burton, and the baronetcy passed to his nephew William Bass. The distinguished collection from which this commode comes was probably formed by Sir Michael's father, Michael Thomas Bass, M.P. for Derby between 1848-1883. Baroness Burton's distinguished collection of French furniture, recorded in situ in a series of photographs of Chesterfield House, Piccadilly, circa 1910, (illustrated in C.S. Sykes, Private Palaces: Life in the Great London Houses, New York, 1985, p. 122-127) was sold at Christie's London, 29 April 1954.
THE DODGE COLLECTION
Anna Thompson, Mrs. Horace E. Dodge (1871-1970) was a leading patron and benefactor of cultural life in Detroit until her death in 1970. She displayed an intense interest for eighteenth-century French art which translated not only to her collection of fine and decorative arts but also to her home, Rose Terrace, which was modelled after the Petit Trianon at Versailles. Mrs. Dodge's exquisite taste parallelled her great generosity to her adopted city. The furnishings of the Music Room from Rose Terrace today form the core of the great decorative arts collection at the Detroit Institute of Arts.
Many of Mrs. Dodge's furniture and objects were made for various royal palaces of Europe. The masterpieces of French cabinet-making included such objects as the Carlin jewel coffer that belonged to Maria Feodorovna, Empress of Russia, a small table by David Roentgen, and a Riesener commode that was supplied to Madame Elizabeth de France for the Chteau de Fontainebleau.
Her selection of the best that the 1930's art market could provide in eighteenth-century art was facilitated by the help of the renowned art dealer Joseph Duveen. Having worked with numerous other great American collectors, Duveen was very interested in forming a relationship with one of the wealthiest widows in America. He played an important role in the formation of Rose Terrace and was instrumental in the acquisition of the most important purchases of his ambitious client. After Mrs. Dodge's death in 1970, the most valuable contents of the house other than that of the Music Room, were sold at Christie's, London, on 26 June, 1971.
MADAME JACQUES BALSAN
The daughter of William Kissam Vanderbilt and Alva Smith Belmont, Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan became a celebrated debutante at her parents' Newport Residence, Marble House. In August of 1895 she met Charles Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough, whom she married that autumn and with whom she returned to England to live at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire.
Consuelo was first able to exercise her passion for French furniture when she constructed her London residence, Sunderland House on Curzon Street in 1904. She separated from the 9th Duke in 1905 and was officially divorced in 1920. The following summer she married the French aviator and her close friend, Jacques Balsan, and the couple settled in France with residences in Eure, near Normandy, and in Eze, overlooking the Mediterranean, until the outbreak of the Second World War. Fleeing to America in 1940, Colonel and Madame Balsan continued to surround themselves with beautiful objects collected over the years, furnishing their homes in Oyster Bay and Palm Beach. Even at the age of eighty, Madame Balsan continued to collect in the grand manner when she moved to a new residence, "Garden Side", in Southampton, New York.