Alexandre Pradère, "French Furniture Makers", 1989, p. 190, pl. 176, illustrating a very similar commode stamped B.V.R.B.
A superb Louis XV gilt bronze mounted tulipwood and kingwood marquetry commode attributed to B.V.R.B., Bernard II Vanrisamburgh, the shaped rectangular serpentine-fronted moulded rouge griotte marble top above two drawers veneered in bout de bout to form floral sprays on a quarter-veneered ground, the drawers with a central cartouche shaped mount enclosed by C-scrolled rocaille mounts and scrolled pulls and foliate escutcheons and foliate mount on the waved apron, with conforming veneered panels and framed mounts on the sides, the cabriole angles with C-scroll and rocaille mounts continuing down the cabriole legs terminated by foliate-cast scrolled sabots
Paris, date circa 1755
Height 88 cm, width 130 cm, depth 65 cm.
Not until 1957, when J-P Baroli resolved the enigmatic stamp B.V.R.B. was the identity known of Bernard II Vanrisamburgh (circa 1696 - 1766) as well as that of his Dutch born father Bernard I (d. 1738) and of his son Bernard III (c.1731-1800). The attribution of the present commode to the greatest ébéniste of Louis XV's reign is not only based its overall quality but more specifically the use of floral bois de bout marquetry combined with the abundance of fine quality gilt bronze mounts. One of the distinguishing factors of B.V.R.B.'s work is its varied, novel and high quality mounts, many of which were designed by the great master himself and in later career were often made by his son, Bernard III. Soon after 1740 B.V.R.B. began reviving the art of floral marquetry, which had fallen from fashion some forty years before. The majority of the first floral marquetry pieces supplied to the Garde-Meuble were made by him and were delivered via Hébert for the Dauphin and Dauphine at Versailles, 1745. One of B.V.R.B.'s specialities was the perfection of bois de bout marquetry composed of kingwood flowers on a light coloured ground. His early work tended to feature bois satiné ground, sometimes framed with amaranth (e.g. a bureau plat supplied by Hébert 1745 for the Dauphin at Versailles). Later he introduced a tulipwood ground, e.g. a large secrétaire delivered by Lezare Duvaux 1755 for Louis XV at the Trianon.
Among his many innovations and specialities were outstanding lacquered pieces, the first of which was a commode for Maria Leszczynska's cabinet at Fontainebleau, delivered by Hébert in 1737. B.V.R.B. also ornamented pieces with Sèvres plaques within lacquered frames, of which at least six chiffonières were supplied through the marchand Simon-Philippe Poirier to the nobility.
Born in Paris, B.V.R.B. was apprenticed under his father before being received as a maître sometime before 1730. He had a separate workshop from his father in the rue de Reuilly and remained in the area of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine until his death In 1730 he married Geneviève Lavoye by whom he had six children of which Bernard III purchased the contents of the workshop on his father's retirement in 1764. It appears that from 1730-38, B.V.R.B. worked for the King of Portugal, though unfortunately all works from this period were destroyed in the Lisbon earthquake, 1755. Unlike many of his Parisian contemporaries he worked almost exclusively for the marchands-merciers notably Hébert, Duvaux and Poirier, through whom his furniture was supplied to Louis XV, Mme de Pompadour, the Prince de Condé, the German courts and aristocracy. Today one can find examples from his outstanding career in nearly all the world's finest collections including the Musées de Versailles, du Louvre, Nissim-de-Camondo and Arts Décoratifs in Paris as well as the Musées de Dijon, Mans, Caen and Geneva. Other works are prized among the collections of the British Royal Collection and Victoria and Albert Museum London, the Residenzmuseum in Munich, the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, the Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon and Topkapi-Sarayi, Istanbul. One can also admire B.V.R.B.'s work at the Metropolitan Museum, New York, Washington National Gallery, Cleveland Museum of Art and at the J. P. Getty Museum, California.