Home » FRENCH Commodes Vs. ITALIAN Commodes

FRENCH Commodes Vs. ITALIAN Commodes


French Commodes and Italian Commodes – a short comparison.

Image result for images of tortoise and shell inlay in classic french commodes

chest bedroom xjpg italian chest of drawers commode late 17th century

Italian classic and French classic, have distinct and unique features that set the designs apart.


Certain French furniture pieces are often ornate, as opposed to the simplistic features of the Italian classic design. It is very common for  classic French pieces to be detailed with carvings (simple and/or elaborate depending on the region) and come in many different woods.  There is great attention to detail with a French chest.

 The French lean to making furniture that will serve many purposes.  The small chest shown above could be used in any room of the house for all different kinds of uses.  Making it a multi-purpose  piece of furniture.  As well the blanket chest or mule chest seen below is for storage of many things, but can also be used as a focal point in a room for the display of lamps, books etc.  A common example of how the French like to utilize furniture for more than one use.The chest below is typical classic French — NOTE: the apron on the bottom of this commode is scalloped, coveted French hardware used for the drawer pulls and the escutcheons…a low to the ground and deep chest….the French carved snail footing for the supporting base.

This French commode has simple detailing and carving, but without the snail carved feet.

Italian furniture pieces often feature mosaics and other complex details on a small amount of space. Some modern Italian pieces combine the look of the Classic and Tuscan furniture styles. These pieces often use materials such as iron in the design. While the pieces are elegant, the furniture is also designed with durability in mind and often times the Italian commodes are rather “heavy” and “hearty” in look.  The Italian chests in this post are of that style.

The Italian chest below, if you look closely, you can see that the cabinet maker used a very small portion on the front left and right to inlay a column to give this chest that Italian detail.

 French classic pieces often reflect the area of production. Provincial pieces have features such as cabriole legsImage result for images of french commodes from crown and colony antiquesand simple woodcarvings, Image result for images of french commodes from crown and colony antiquesas opposed to the more detailed work seen in some Italian classic pieces. Image result for images for classic italian commodesParisian pieces tend to reflect the artistic trends of the time, while adding elements of basic French classic design. Pieces made in the royal design are usually the most ornate, with gilded finishes, ivory or tortoiseshell Image result for images of tortoise and shell inlay in classic french commodesveneers and complex marquetry. The chief differences between French classic and Italian classic largely depends on the time period & region from where it originated.

French Louis XV Period Walnut Commode

The Italian commodes in this posting reflect raised carvings and inlays – heavy, substantial and the feet on these type chest/commodes are different in style than what you would see on a french chest.

The Italian commode and the French commode are different.  It takes a trained eye to distinguish the difference, but once you have learned the look of these beautiful chests you can begin to tell for yourself what country they originated.

Please visit our website https://www.crownandcolony.com for Commodes and Chests from France AND Italy.  As well view our merchandise on http://1stdibs.com – SEARCH for Crown and Colony Antiques.

Au Revoir!  A La Prochaine!!

Some of the pictures in this posting were borrowed from 1st dibs in an effort to offer our readers examples of French & Italian chests.  The majority of pictures are from our merchandise selection.  Any other pictures used are merely used for informational purposes only.