A stunning Louis XV commode thought to be made by Pierre II Migeon (1701 – 1758), who supplied furniture to Madame de Pompadour, has been shipped from Sydney, Australia, to be sold at Bonhams’ sale of Fine Continental Furniture and Works of Art at 101 New Bond Street, London, on 10 July. Having travelled roughly 12,000 sea miles, it is expected to fetch up to £60,000 at the auction.

Tim Goodman, CEO of Bonhams & Goodman in Australia, came across the commode in the private collection of an important family in Sydney, who decided that, with the current buoyancy of the international market, it was time to sell. It is extremely rare to find such fine examples of European furniture in Australia, and it was felt that it was certainly worth shipping the commode the 12,000 miles or so to the UK for Bonhams’ London sale.

The commode has an interesting history, not least because it is thought to have been made by the Migeon family, one of the most important dynasties of Parisian ébénistes. Pierre II Migeon, whose mark is on the commode, supplied pieces to Madame de Pompadour – the infamous mistress of Louis XV.

The commode’s provenance can be traced back to the 19th century, when it was in the possession of Comte Jacques de Vienne in Paris. It descended through the family to eventually be moved to Australia.

The word commode comes from French roots meaning “convenient” or “suitable,” and in furniture it meant a cabinet, with one or more doors, that served as a washstand with a washbasin and water pitcher, and that also offered an enclosed area below for storing a chamberpot. Convenience cabinets called commodes often furnished middle-class bedrooms before the days of indoor plumbing. The term ‘commode’ with reference to this piece, however, means a low chest of drawers on short legs.

Fine Continental Furniture and Works of Art
Bonhams, 101 New Bond Street, London
10 July 2007

Lot 35
A Louis XV ormolu-mounted black lacquered chinoiserie commode
Circa 1745, bearing a Migeon and JME stamp
Of bombé serpentine form, with a shaped Brèche d’Alep marble top above two drawers decorated sans-traverses with chinese figures and pagodas within a typical landscape, the sides with similar panels, the angles each with a pierced scrolling foliate clasp, on cabriole legs with scrolling acanthus-cast sabots, the carcass stamped Migeon / JME but probably of a later date, 120.5cm wide, 62.5cm deep, 84.5cm high (47″ wide, 24.5″ deep, 33″ high).

In the late 19th century with Comte Jacques de Vienne, Paris
Comte Gerard de Vienne, Paris
Comte Patrick de Vienne
Thence by decent,
Private Collection, Sydney

Pierre II Migeon (1701-1758)
The Migeon family were one of the important dynasties of Parisian ébénistes consisting of three generations who succeeded each other in the rue de Charenton. Pierre II Migeon was a dealer as well as an ébéniste selling pieces made by his colleagues. A list of amounts paid to his suppliers between 1740 and 1760 mentions more than two hundred artisans and traders such as Criaerd, Macret, Topino and R.V.L.C.

He worked for the Court and his first pieces were commands for Madame de Pompadour.

For a comparable lacquered commode, please see P. Kjellberg, Le Mobilier Français du XVIIIe Siècle, Paris, 1989, image A. p. 574.