This commode is part of a very distinguished group of the early 1760s that are associated with the London cabinet-makers William Vile and John Cobb. The group is distinguished by its reliance on lavish ormolu mounts for its effect, with the overall shapes being nearly rectangular, with serpentine fronts. The closest comparison for this commode is a pair in The Lady Lever Art Gallery (L. Wood, Catalogue of Commodes, London, 1994, no. 1, pp. 43-53). The attribution to Vile and Cobb stems largely from a commode supplied by Cobb to James West at Alscot Park in 1766 (ibid., p. 51, pl. 35). Close associations between this commode and one at Blickling (ibid., p. 50, pl. 34) allows tentative attribution of the group of which the present commode is part, both on constructional grounds and the presence of the same giltmetal mounts. There is also a payment in 1762 from Blickling to Vile and Cobb that supports the attribution there.
The 'cupid-bow' form of this 'commode' chest-of-drawers, and the ormolu mounts, derive from an early 18th Century French pattern of marble-topped commode. Its various features including nymph-truss pilasters, Neptune-headed escutcheons and acanthus-flowered handles, all featured on a Rgence commode, sold in these Rooms, 7 December 1978, lot 109. The handle pattern also features on furniture attributed to the Parisian bniste dealer, Noel Grard (d.1736) who was patronised by the English, including James, Viscount Chewton and Earl Waldegrave (d.1742), whose purchases in 1733 were made while he was serving as George II's ambassador to the Emperor of Germany (see A. Pradre, French Furniture Makers, London, 1989, pp.111-114)
It is probably significant that John Vardy (d.1765), the Duke of Bolton's architect and furniture designer at Hackwood Park, is known to have made a close study of French furniture. He joined George II's Architectural Board of Works in 1736, and among his surviving architectural drawings are some sketches of existing very high quality French furniture, that had been imported into England. The two most significant of these are drawings of a bureau plat that is still at Temple Newsam House, Leeds (C. Gilbert, Furniture at Temple Newsam House, London, 1978, vol. II, no. 561, p. 434.) and for an armoire from Serlby Hall that was sold from the Bute Collection, in these Rooms, 3 July 1996, lot 48. This commode from Hackwood Park is recorded in the early 20th Century inventory and this is the first time that this distinctively French form has been associated with a particular architect or designer.