Pierre Roussel, maître in 1745.
Established in the rue de Charenton at l'Image de St. Pierre, Roussel was described as early as 1769 in the Almanach de Vray Merit as: l'un des premiers ébénistes de Paris. Particularly renowned for his floral marquetry, often executed for the German market and characterised by the heavy use of engraving to enhance its naturalistic quality, this commode typifies Roussel's style of the early 1760's.
A very closely related commode with nearly identical floral marquetry and ormolu mounts, but featuring the encadrement mounts such as those which probably originally fitted our commode, previously in the duchesse de Lévis Mirepoix's collection, then in the Huntington Collection, San Marino, California, was sold from The Alexander Collection, Christie's New York, 30 April 1999, lot 180 ($244,500).
Another closely related commode, also retaining its original engraving, but with rocaille angle-mounts, is illustrated from the collection of S. Chalom in P. Verlet, French Cabinetmakers of the Eighteenth Century, New York, 1965, p.131, fig.4.
Two more closely related commodes by Roussel, were sold, one at Christie's London, 16 December 1966, lot 178, and the other at Ader Tajan Paris, 23 November 1994, lot 156. A final exampled, previously in the Collection of the Earls of Harewood, was sold Sotheby's, Chesterfield House, 7 April 1932, lot 287.
The Inventory drawn up by Leleu and Cochois following Roussel's death in 1783 reveals an atelier at the height of its activity. However, whilst most of the ébénisterie appears to have been executed on the premises, often by Roussel's sons Pierre Michel (maître in 1766) and Pierre le Jeune (maître in 1771), the ormolu mounts were supplied by specialist bronziers, including Turchin, Ravrio and the doreur Trufot. It is, therefore, not surprising that the same encadrement mounts (here unfortunately missing, but from which the traces are visible) feature on commodes by both Mathieu Criaerd and the marchand-ébéniste Adrien-Faizelot Delorme (ibid., pp. 72-3 and 117), whilst the same goût grec angle-mounts are to be found in the oeuvre of Jean-Baptiste Fromageau (maître in 1755), P. Kjellberg, Le Mobilier Français du XVIIIe Siècle, Paris, 1989, p. 329-30).