Noël Gérard, active 1690-1736.
A number of commodes are recorded with strong similarities to this example, several of which feature the same distinctive lion-mask angle mounts, and which can be attributed to the atelier of the marchand-ébéniste Noël Gérard. These are divided into two groups of commodes, those with two drawers and those with three drawers, as follows:
COMMODES WITH TWO DRAWERS
-one sold from the Koutschoubey Collection, Drouot Paris, 13 June 1906, lot 382
- one in palissander sold from the collection of Mme. Camoin, Drouot Paris, 2 April 1987, lot 133, stamped NG, which forms the basis for the attribution for this group to Gérard
-one sold anonymously, Sotheby's, Monaco, 26 June 1983, lot 290
COMMODES WITH THREE DRAWERS
-one, on loan to Versailles from the Mobilier National, is illustrated in E. Molinier, Le Mobilier Français, Paris, 1955, plate IX
-one, almost certainly acquired by Bertram, 4th Earl of Ashburnham, was sold by the Trustees of the Ashburnham Settled Estates, Sotheby's London, 26 June 1953, lot 117
- one, in red tortoiseshell, with identical lion-mask angle mounts, was sold anonymously, Sotheby's, Monaco, 3 March 1990, lot 247.
Gérard was the half-brother of the ébéniste Jacques Dubois, and in 1710 married the widow of a menuisier en ébène. His workshop at his death comprised 6 workbenches, indicating a wide range of activities, which is further indicated by the fact that in 1726 he was also appointed a marchand-mercier. It is interesting to note in this respect that the inventory taken after the death of André-Charles Boulle in 1732 contained several lion-mask mounts which must have been very similar to those on this commode, described as follows:
No 50 Une boeste de modeles de grands feuillages, masques de fauve, mufles de lion....
No 51. Une boeste de modeles de masques et mufles de lions...