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Sotheby's Sells Important Chippendale Commode

The Six-Million-Dollar Chest


Sotheby's Sells Important Chippendale Commode

Commode, rosewood and tulipwood, gilt-lacquered, brass-mounts and feet, probably by Chippendale, ca. 1770

© Sotheby's

At a December 7, 2010 auction of "Important Furniture, Silver and Ceramics" at Sotheby's London, the buzz was about a George III commode, which fetched 3,793,250 pounds - close to $6 million. Was this mighty sum due to the excellent condition (lack of warping) of the piece? Or its precious composition - gilt-lacquered rose- and tulipwood, covered with intricate, floral-themed marquetry? Or its provenance - the piece had belonged to the 10th Earl of Harrington, having been in his family for generations?

All these things no doubt helped, but the big reason for the big price: the "Harrington Commode" was almost certainly made by Thomas Chippendale, and a prime example of his late, Neo-Classical style.

Never forget: in antiques, name does matter.

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