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An Italian pietre dure and Antique marbles inlaid table top with the arms of Salviati of Rome, Roman

the square outer border and the alabaster 16th century, with 19th century additions and restorations

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22
An Italian pietre dure and Antique marbles inlaid table top with the arms of Salviati of Rome, Roman

the square outer border and the alabaster 16th century, with 19th century additions and restorations

JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Important Furniture, Silver and Ceramics

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An Italian pietre dure and Antique marbles inlaid table top with the arms of Salviati of Rome, Roman

the square outer border and the alabaster 16th century, with 19th century additions and restorations

of square form centred by the later coat-of-arms of Salviati of Rome, surmounted by a Cardinal's hat within a border of geometric reserves of Tunisian alabaster, the outer border of verde antico inlaid with alternating band of roundels, horizontal and vertical tablets inlaid with various marbles with a scrolled boss at each corner with the coat-of-arms of Salviati, on a white marble and black slate ground; later iron support beneath top;rebacked
133.5cm. square; 4ft ½in
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Provenance

The coat-of arms suggest that it was made for a member of the renowned Salviati family.

Catalogue Note

Comparative Literature:
A. M. Giusti, Pietre Dure Hardstone in Furniture and Decorations, London, 1992, p.11, fig. 6.
Alvar González-Palacios, Museo Nacional del Prado, Las Colecciones Reales Espanolas de Mosaicos Y Piedras Duras, p. 62.
W. Koeppe and A. Giusti, Art of the Royal Court. Treasures in Pietre Dure from the palaces of Europe, Catalogue of the Exhibition, New York, 2008, cat. 10.

This top is highly unusual in that it represents a Roman 16th century top which has been altered and transformed in the 19th century by the descendents of the family member who almost certainly  commissioned the original top in the 16th century.

Anna Maria Giusti has written a detailed study in Italian of this top  dated 20th September 2009, a copy of which in Italian is available from the department upon request.

This table top is impressive in both design and the choice of stones used. The geometric motifs on the outer border reflect the taste in the latter years of the 16th century and the `targhe' motif is found on Roman tops dating from the last quarter of the 16th century and can be seen on a table top belonging to the Duke of Westminster, illustrated by Alvar González-Palacios, op. cit., p.361, plate 703.  Furthermore, there is a design by G.A. Dosio (1533-1609), for a pietre dure top with a related geometric border and central oval roundel to those upon this top, (Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi), illustrated by A.G.P., op. cit., p. 362, fig. 705, reproduced here in fig. 1.

In fact  two of the coat-of-arms in the corners of the offered top have three rosso antico bands on a ground of alberese, whereas in the central coat-of-arms beneath the Cardinal's hat and the other two coat-of-arms are in pink portasanta marble on a translucent alabaster ground and the latter was rarely used and embellished 16th century inlaid tops, see for example the Farnese Table, circa 1568-73, designed by Jacopo Barozzi da Vignola, the top attributed to Giovanni Mynardo (Jean Ménard), illustrated by W. Koeppe and A. Giusti, op. cit., cat. 10. (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York,  Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1958, 58.57a-d).

The central medallion on the offered top is a later addition for the following reasons: the alternating band of geometric motifs has a certain harshness and has different tones compared to the marbles used on the outer border, as the stones on the latter have been chosen with precision and are archeological in origin and have been presented with careful consideration of the symmetry. The border marbles comprise in the small round medallions; alabaster of Gebel Oust from Tunisia with striped shading from yellow to pink, in the larger medallions Nero Antico di Aquitania and Portasanta fiorito from the island of Chios in Greece. In the horizontal targhe there is Brocatello di Spagna and in the vertical ones Rosso brecciato or the Caria marble from Iaso (Turkey). However, it is worth contrasting these beautiful stones with those in the inner central medallion as not all of the latter are archeological in origin: there is only one targhe with verde antico, there are two with Giallo di Siena and a third one of `lineato dell'Arno', four of Portasanta but of different shades and four of Marble African which seem to imitate the colour of the Portasanta di Chio on the outer border. Finally, it is worthwhile considering the background marble of the medallion which is not in verde antico like the outer border but in Verde Levanto which is a later marble found in Liguria which was fashionable in the 19th century. The Cardinal's hat was executed at the same time as the medallion and the former is in Diaspro di Cipro on a ground of Giallo di Siena. The Salviati coat-of-arms is made with bands of Rosso Antico on a ground of Albarese within a cartouche in Giallo Anticio bordered with lapis lazuli.
One should also consider the Alabastro cotognino of Egyptian origin in the geometric framing device and the lapis onyx which was mentioned by Pliny in his Naturalis Historia XXXV, 60. Its presence in such a large quantity, outstanding beauty and quality of the inlay work would suggest that it was part of the original 16th century top, whilst the black marble strips which were later inserted seem to have the function of reuniting the outer border with the centre which appears to have been made during the 19th century when the table was restored. The original 16th century top would appear to have had a rectangular slate of Egyptian alabaster found in most antique Roman tops of the period, several examples of which can be found in the Farnese palace in Rome.  It is worthwhile considering a table top with the Farnese coat-of-arms inserted diagonally in the corners, circa 1560's, illustrated by Giusti, op. cit., p. 11, fig. 6.

The Salviati Family:
The commissioner of this top in the 16th century could be one of three Cardinals from the Salviati family: Giovanni, cardinal from 1517-1533; his brother Bernardo from 1561-68, Anton Maria from 1583 to 1602.

To further support the later dating of the central medallion, it is worthwhile mentioning that the coat-of-arms is not one that was used by the Salviati Cardinals in the 16th century-the hat is different and it is only in the 17th century that the 15 red `fiocchi' on each side beneath the hat on the coat-of-arms appear. Only the first Cardinal Giovanni used it as an insignia of the family the others added a cross in the case of Bernado and an eagle for Anton Maria.  

The central coat-of-arms depict when Salviati became a Cardinal in the late 18th century and the descendants of Cardinal Gregorio (cardinal 1777) went to live in Florence and it is worthwhile noting that the depiction of the arms is more Florentine, although the design of the top is Roman in conception. 

 

 

 

Important Furniture, Silver and Ceramics

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