The Longleat Commodes: More Than Meets the Eye
There is more to this pair of commodes than meets the eye. If they could talk, they would tell tales of their storied provenance. A former home in an Elizabethan estate? Check. Noble ranking owners? Check.
Leland Little is proud to offer this Pair of Late Louis XV Ormolu-Mounted, Amaranth, Tulip Wood, and Trellis Inlaid Marble Top Commodes in our upcoming Signature Summer Auction on June 11.
Longleat in Wiltshire, England.

It is believed this pair was purchased by John Alexander Thynne, 4th Marquess of Bath (1831-1896) for Longleat, which is the seat of the Marquesses of Bath located in Wiltshire, England. Longleat was designed by Robert Symthson for Sir John Thynne in the early 16th century and is a leading example of Elizabethan architecture. Due to its scale and ornate quality it is known as a “prodigy house” which refers to a large showy English country house built for use as a palace for nobility.

The 4th Marquess was widely known as a patron of the arts. He was a trustee of the National Gallery in London as well as a trustee of the British Museum. It may have been through his work here that he met John Crace, the distinguished interior designer whose other projects included the National Gallery, the British Museum, as well as the Palace of Westminster. The Marquess employed Crace’s services for Longleat.
The 4th Marquess of Bath by Carlo Pellegrini, 1874.
The Honorable Harriet Baring
The commodes are referenced in two inventories of the 4th Marquess' heirlooms at Longleat, in 1869 and 1896, as being in the Dowager’s bedroom.

The Dowager at the time would have been The Honorable Harriet Baring, the widow of the 3rd Marquess of Bath, Henry Thynne. The Dowager, once known alongside her husband for their vibrant social life and flair for entertaining, later became known for her work on passing the Infant Life Protection Society Bill, which helped to outlaw unregulated orphanages and saved countless lives.
This pair of commodes remained at Longleat until 2002, when they were sold at Christie’s London in the Furniture, Porcelain, and Silver from Longleat auction to their present owners.

These fine pieces could become part of your story at our Signature Summer Auction on June 11.