Chest of drawers

ca. 1780 (made)

Mewesen, Pierre-Harry

Height: 87.5 cm, Width: 98 cm, Depth: 57 cm

1088-1882 FWK

Commode-secrétaire, veneered with trellis marquetry in mahogany and other woods, on a carcase of oak, pine and walnut, possibly made by Pierre-Harry Mewesen, France, about 1780

Commode-secrétaire, veneered in mahogany, tulipwood, rosewood, boxwood and kingwood, on a carcase of oak, pine and walnut; mounts of gilt bronze; top of leather

This piece of furniture combines a chest of drawers and a secretaire. The top surface moves back and, at the same time, the drawer slides forward, to provide a writing surface. A smaller version of this piece is also in the Museum's collections (Museum no. 1089-1882). The trellis marquetry is similar to designs found on pieces made in the 1780s in Paris by the Swedish-born cabinet-maker Pierre-Harry Mewesen. Both the pieces in the Museum's collections belonged to John Jones, a succesful supplier of military uniforms to the British army, who used his fortune to buy French decorative arts of the 18th century. At the time that he was buying, in the 1870s, there was a brisk trade in both reproduction and fake French furniture, while some genuine 18th-century pieces were embellished with grander marquetry or richer gilt-bronze mounts. Although this kind of secretaire had been made in the 1780s, there is still much debate about the precise history of this one.

In the collection of John Jones before 1882

Bequeathed by John Jones

Location: In Storage

View this object on the V&A website