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Louis XVI Dresser, Turin

last quarter of the 18th Century

Louis XVI dresser, with three drawers, realized in the last quarter of the 18th century in Turin.

Dresser with three drawers. The first drawer on the down part follow the motif of the bands with Greek reserves; the other two drawers have two marquetry reserves as the ones on the sides and a central reserve with veneer arranged in a halo pattern.
The four protruding pilasters of which the frontal ones are 45° inclined, have rosewood reserves surrounded by small frames that highlight also the drawers. Different kind of wood had been used: rosewood for the dark part, Brazilian rosewood, walnut and maple for the threading and the two nozzle of the drawers; even the thin and twisted feet made with solid walnut have inlays.

Comò Luigi XVI dettaglio
Comò Luigi XVI serratura

The inside of the drawers are made with precision of a cabinetmaker, choosing and moving the walnut boards and with small dovetails joints 45° inclined on the bottom. The counter-top is made with Bardiglio Marble of Valdieri. The structure of the piece of furniture is made with solid walnut except for the poplar bottom.

Dimensions cm: height 91 x width 122 x depth 56

Inspect the dresser

Historical stylistic analysis of the dresser

For what concern the artist, it is known that in the 18th century Turin was strongly conditioned by the figure of Pietro Piffetti (1701-1777), considered with Charles Boulle one of the biggest cabinet maker of all times.

With is works of art he will be able to nearly leave the “Juvarriana memoria” lines that have characterized him and also rich materials as mother of pearls, ivory, turtle and various materials, and he will make, as a prototype of his ebony, more simple and “new beyond-the-alps style” furniture. The French influence will always be present in the Savoy capital.

If for the carving works Turin will benefit of another illustrious artisan, Bonzanico, for the cabinet-making of the late decades of 19th century the inheritance of Pifetti will be taken over by several artists, capable of great executive skills but without the inventive quality of the master. Among these we remember of Giovanni Galletti (1735-1819) and Giuseppe Viglione (1748-1823). This dresser is certainly more approachable to the works of the second one.

Cassettiera a mezza luna Viglione
Even if the building quality declares the important commission, the marquetry cabinet-making motifs and the use of Greeks fret are characteristic traits of the known furniture of Viglione.
Cassettiera a mezza luna, Palazzo Reale Torino

A piece of furniture that I could analyze from real life and that shows several resemblances, like the accurate execution, the refined materials and the same marble, is the half moon chest of drawers preserved in Turin at the second floor of the Palazzo Reale; even the turned and inlaid feet seem to confer to the two piece of furniture the same paternity.

Cassettiera a mezza luna, Palazzo Reale Torino Dettaglio
Comò Luigi XVI gambe
Interesting is also the presence of the Bardiglio marble of Valdieri.

The “Bardiglio of Valdieri” marble mines were royal propriety, in fact Savoja’s Cross and Royal Crowns have been found on the boulders declaring the propriety since August 13th 1743.
We can surely assert that the analyzed dresser was realized in the last quarter of the 18th century in Turin, for an aristocracy closet or the Royal Family if not for the same, while, not having signature, we can’t certainty confer the production to the Viglione’s workshops even if between the known ones it is the more probable one.

– Roberto Antonetto, Il mobile piemontese nel Settecento, Ed. Allemandi 2010
– Article by Mario Catella, I marmi del Piemonte, Atti magazine and technical rew of the society of the engineers and architets of Turin, 5th year March 3rd 1951

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