A signboard next to these carefully crafted and decorated wooden objects informs that they are a pair of commodes:

The name is taken from the French word for a chest of drawers. They were introduced during the reign of King Louis XIV (1638-1715) and the style was adopted in the mid-1700s when French fashions became popular in Britain.

The term usually describes cupboards with curved or ’serpentine’ fronts, supported by legs. In this case the shape is a very plain rectangular chest with all the emphasis being on its elegant decoration.

Commodes were used on the principle floor of a house, either in the main reception rooms or in bedrooms and dressing rooms.

Many commodes were not functional at all but simply a means of showing off the decorative skill of the maker and they sometimes formed part of a decorative scheme for a complete interior.

This pair was functional and designed for use in a bedroom to store clothes. One of the interiors is fitted with shelves and the other with sliding drawers. The top has a narrow shelf which could be slid out, traditionally for use as a flat surface for brushing clothes.


14 Comments CherryPie on Aug 7th 2017

14 Responses to “Commodes”

  1. Ginnie says:

    Since I love anything made of wood, I would like it for the wood alone! It’s so beautiful.

  2. Alan says:

    Well, that’s quite different from my understanding of the word “commode”!

    • CherryPie says:

      Mine too. I was expecting something quite different within those wooden boxes. Something that fits with the paper you posted earlier today ;-)

  3. The Yum List says:

    What a beautiful chest.

  4. Wow. That’s super interesting. I thought a commode was a toilet. That wood looks so smooth. Makes you wonder how they could create such beautiful things without modern tools. Great post.

  5. shabana says:

    Elegant work of art!
    my grandfather had a small wooden one which always was fascinating for me .
    thank you for adding the detail dear Charie!

  6. Ayush says:

    oh this is completely new to me, CP. next time i will check the function first before deciding if i need to use the commode! :D

  7. Well, you learn something every day. I bought a friend a commode for his 40th birthday, but it was the other sort; he should be using it anytime soon…