National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION

Tour: Production of French Decorative Arts in the 1700s

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image of Andiron (feu or chenet) image of Chest of Drawers (commode) image of Chest of Drawers (commode)
1 2 3
image of Candelabrum: Swan Among Rushes image of Writing Table (bureau plat)
4 5
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Comfort and convenience were hallmarks of good taste in eighteenth-century Europe. To meet these fashionable demands, designers developed a wide variety of specialized, multipurpose furniture. For instance, at her combined desk and dresser, a lady could keep household accounts, write letters, serve refreshments, play cards, sew or embroider, groom hair, or freshen cosmetics--all without leaving her chair. (continue)


1Attributed to Jacques Caffiéri, Andiron (feu or chenet), probably 1750/1755
2Jean-Mathieu Chevallier, Chest of Drawers (commode), mid-18th century, possibly 1743/1744
3Joseph Baumhauer, Chest of Drawers (commode), probably between 1767 and 1772 but possibly a decade earlier
4design by Johann Joachim Kaendler, manufactured by Staatliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Meissen GmbH, Candelabrum: Swan Among Rushes, c. 1750
5Charles Cressent, Writing Table (bureau plat), c. 1740/1745