By the time the Unification of Italy was achieved in 1870, Italian designers were looking back for inspiration to the luxuriously inlaid furniture of the Renaissance. In the 1860's and 70's, Italian craftsmen such as Ferdinando Pogliani of Milan and Giovanni Battista Gatti produced inlaid furniture conceived in a similar vein to the offered cabinet.
Ferdinando Pogliani (active 1860's and 1870's) worked with his sons Paolo and Carlo in his workshop in Borgo di Porta, Vittoria N.81, Milan. He later had a showroom in the elegant Via Monte Napoleone and won prizes in several leading Exhibitions becoming one of the cities leading cabinetmakers. His entry in the encyclopaedic history of Milan reads; ...`much sought after and very expensive is ivory and ebony inlaid furniture. In this field Pogliani excels with his perfect technique which was very much admired at the exhibition in 1881.' He specialised in the manufacture of large architecturally inspired pieces of furniture made from ebony inlaid with ivory, tortoiseshell and pietre dure with gilt-mounts. The subject matter included amorini, flowers and mythological subjects and animals. The present cabinet includes an engraved ivory relief of the Old Master painting The Marriage of the Virgin, painted by Raphel Sanzio in 1504, and now in the permanent collection of the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan.