This unusual 18th century French chest of drawers was carved in oak and has a facade that is highly undulating, known to 18th century French ébénistes as “arbalete”. It is referred to as arbalete (crossbow in English) because the front of the drawers and top resembles the silhouette of the arc of a crossbow. The commode seen here has at least double the typical crossbow undulations seen on most other arbalete commodes. It is the primary decorative feature of the piece. To add even more visual impact to its already beautiful façade, this commode has no visible legs or feet. The typical three rows of drawers and legs, are substituted by 4 rows of drawers, employing the entire mass of the piece.
Asymmetrical keyhole escutcheons and rococo style drawer pulls adorn each drawer. Between each drawer is a thin, double layer of curved molding which clearly delineates one level from the next. The rest of the commode is framed by thick, curved oak moldings, and plain side panels. At some point in its history, this chest of drawers was stripped and bleached, resulting in a light and pleasing coloration.
CONDITION: Good antique condition, with some minor losses to wood and minor wear commensurate to age and use. Drawer bottoms replaced at some point. Old drawer locks no longer present. Commode was bleached by a previous owner.
H - 35, W - 47, D - 23
18th Century French Crossbow Front Commode in Bleached Oak
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