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19Th Century Italian Oak Octagonal Table With Inlaid Marble Top

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Item Description

A Mid 19th Century Oak Inlaid Marble Topped Table in the English Style With Central Bird and Butterfly Design.

This table is very much in the English mid Victorian style and probably made for an English patron. However there are certain aspects of the piece that suggest that it was most likely made on the continent, most likely in Italy. The table base has four scrolling legs with carved paterae and a central boss under the column. The tapering baluster column is also quite typical of English pieces but the frieze, with its book-matched veneers and parquetry diamonds, would be a very unusual feature on an English piece of this date. The table top is of inlaid marble work and is certainly Italian in origin and given that Italian furniture workshops were renowned for their parquetry work, it seems likely that this whole piece was acquired by a wealthy English grand tourist on their travels around Italy and then transported to its new home in Britain.

The table top is centred on a marble picture featuring a bird on a flowering branch with a butterfly. Inlaid on to a black marble background, each feature of the scene has been created by inlaying marbles of different colours, the effect being extremely impressive. In the 18th century, one of the most famous workshops of that time in Italy was run by Giacomo Raffaelli, the great micro mosaicist. One of Raffaelli's trademarks was the use of birds of this sort, usually goldfinches, amongst flowering branches and it is highly likely that both the patron and the maker of our table were aware of these earlier pieces and the sort of collectors who had been drawn to them and established a market for them around the world. The bird on our table is surrounded by a geometric motif created by inlaying mixed marble fragments of many different colours on to the white marble background, creating a sort of glittering effect that is very unusual and attractive. This same technique is also used to create lozenge and roundel decorations and two octagonal borders. The effect is both sumptuous and surprisingly contemporary as it is very unusual to see white marble used as a ground colour in this period.

Often table tops of this sort were brought back from a tour and then a local cabinet maker in the tourist's own country would create a base to display the piece but in this case it would seem likely that this whole piece was conceived, designed and made in Italy. It is an extremely fine example of its kind and we are delighted to be able to offer it for sale.

Item Info

Seller Location

Husbands Bosworth, Leicestershire, Leicestershire

Item Dimensions

H: 78cm W: 75cm D: 75cm


19th Century

Item Location

United Kingdom

Seller Location

Husbands Bosworth, Leicestershire, Leicestershire

Item Location

United Kingdom

Seller Contact No

+44 (0)1858 882005

+44 (0)7811 127428