The Bletchley Park Commodes. a Fine Pair of George III Gilt Metal Mounted Mahogany, Tulip Rosewood, and Sabicu Commodes in the Manner of Pierre Langlois.
Height: 33" Width: 36" Depth: 21"
Inventory Number 8364-467
Price Available Upon Request
Each serpentine brass bound top with broad crossbanding, above shaped sides and three long drawers, all with superb parquetry panels; having finely cast foliate handles, escutcheons and scrolling sabots.
Sir Herbert Leon and Lady Fanny Leon. Bletchely Park, Buckinghamshire, England.
BEARING paper label: “Formerly the property of Fanny, Lady Leon, Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire”
PIERRE LANGLOIS (worked in London 1750-1770’s d. 1781), one of the most pre-eminent cabinet makers of the eighteenth century, was recorded working at 39 Tottenham Court Road in London from 1750’s, bringing the highest quality and Parisian designs to his English customers. The wide range of newly fashionable French style furniture was supplied to some of the most important clientele of the day, including the dukes of Bedford and Northumberland, Horace Walpole and the Earl of Coventry.
Langlois shared his workshops with a metal worker and gilder named Dominique Jean and it is possible that he supplied the metal work for these commodes.
The lands of Bletchley Park were formerly part of the Manor of Eaton, included in the Doomsday Book of 1086. After being confiscated by the crown, it passed through several family lines before being sold in 1883 to Sir Herbert Leon, a financier and member of the London Stock Exchange. The fairly unassuming residence purchased by Leon, was expanded upon considerably. The estate grew to include over 500 acres of parkland. In 1927 Sir Leon passed away, and in 1937 his much beloved wife, Fanny followed. In 1938, the property was almost sold to a developer but before any demolition could take place, the mansion (and its outbuildings) were saved by Sir Admiral Hugh Sinclair (Director of Naval Intelligence, Head of the famous M16, and founder of The Government Code and Cypher School) who bought the entire site with his own money after failing to raise public funds. It was during World War II that Bletchley Park would take on its most famous role. It became headquarters for the now famous, but then very secretive code breaking of radio messages sent by the Axis powers. Over 12,000 men and women were sworn to silence, by an oath to the King. Their greatest triumph came when they finally were able to break Hitler’s Enigma Machine, the encrypting device that was used for German radio messages.