Jacques Bircklé, maître in 1765.
Before receiving his maîtrise, Bircklé worked in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, and then on the rue Saint-Nicolas, where in 1785 he began to furnish pieces for the royal Garde Meuble until the Revolution. His workshop continued after his death, maintained by his son until 1825.
The charming marquetry pastorale scenes which decorate this commode combine classical ruins with eighteenth century figures engaged in leisurely pursuits. Bircklé's production included numerous examples decorated with detailed marquetry, with a recurrence of particular themes: vases of flowers, urns, draperies, ribbons, trophies, landscapes and scenes 'à l'antique such as those on this commode.
While the marquetry on this commode may have been executed by Birckl/ae himself, it is also possible that the marquetry panels were executed by another specialist marqueteur. Pictorial marquetry panels were often based on engraved sources, and Geoffrey de Bellaigue discussed the possibility that a group of specialist marqueteurs such as Christophe Wolff (maître in 1755), André-Louis Gilbert (maître in 1774), and Jacques Dautriche (maître in 1765) would have supplied marquetry panels to marchand-merciers as well as other ébénistes. It is also likely that large workshops employed their own marqueteurs (G. de Bellaigue, 'Ruins in Marquetry', Apollo, January, 1968, pp.12-16 and G. de Bellaigue, 'Engravings and the French Eighteenth-Century Marqueteur', Burlington Magazine, May 1965, pp. 240-250 and July 1965, pp. 356-363). Comparable, but not identical, panels of marquetry with ruins and pastoral scenes are found on several examples stamped by other ébénistes, including several commodes by André-Louis Gilbert, illustrated in P. Kjellberg, Le Mobilier Français du XVIIIe Siècle, Paris, 1989, pp. 358-359. Among these examples is a very similarly-shaped demilune commode also with identical bow-knot-tied trailing angle mounts to those found on the present commode.