Louis XVI commode





France, Reign of Louis XVI


Jean-Henri Riesener, Received Master in 1768


Stamped: J.H.RIESENER under the marble top.

Dimensions :


Height : 35 in.

Width : 50 in.

Depth : 23 in.



Our commode of Louis XVI period, in mahogany and mottled mahogany veneered, opens in front by five drawers in two lines without cross-piece and separate by astragal in gilt bronze. It presents a light central projection and rests on four tapered legs. Our commode is enriched by an ornamentation of gilt bronzes such as frames in frieze, laurels garlands, cut leather patterns with oak leaves and shoes. A white veined grey marble tray tops the whole.


The structure with compartments and right lines of this piece of furniture are a perfect example of the neoclassical style and of the Jean-Henri Riesener’s production.

The use of mahogany is a characteristic of the creation of this cabinetmaker too. For our commode, bronze ornamentation refined and restrained permits to emphasize the high quality of mottled mahogany panels.


Born in 1734, Jean-Henri Riesener was one of the most famous cabinetmakers of the reign of Louis XVI. Arrives in Paris in 1755, and begins his apprenticeship in the Jean-François Oeben’s workshop at the Arsenal. Our cabinetmaker becomes quickly one of the better collaborators of Oeben and when he dies, in 1763, he becomes the manager of the workshop.


As the “Journal du Garde-Meuble de la Couronne” testifies, the Riesener’s production is varied. Indeed, he received a lot of important orders by the queen Marie-Antoinette, of which he was the favourite cabinetmaker, and for all royal family, to make a kind of furniture with gorgeous floral marquetry and rich gilt bronze ornamentation. Nevertheless, Risener creates a new style of furniture with a straight structure with compartments and projection, restrained and light lines and gilt bronze decorations. Our commode is a perfect reflection of this new taste and of the new aesthetic of Riesener for his composition of furniture with a three parts division of the front and with a line of drawers on the belt and two drawers without cross-piece as this similar commode preserved in the Musée Carnavalet, Paris.


In 1774, for the Louis XVI coronation, Jean-Henri Riesener receives the title of “ébéniste ordinaire du Mobilier de la Couronne” that we could traduce by: “royal cabinetmaker”. During ten years, he will create a lot of furniture for royal houses and for the whole French court.