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An Italian walnut, fruitwood and rosewood marquetry framed panel by Francesco Abbiati, circa 1800
depicting the Ascent to Calvary, the beveled frame inlaid with an intricate neoclassical design, the whole hatched and shaded; signed Fran.o Abbiati
145cm. high., 118cm. wide; 4ft. 9in., 3ft. 10½in.
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Catalogue Note

Related literature

A. González-Palacios, Il Gusto dei Principi, Milan, 1993, Vol. I, pp. 354-355

M. Tavella, "Additions to the Oeuvre of Francesco Abbiati", Furniture History, vol. XXXVIII, 2002, pp. 97-107

This rare panel, depicting one of the fourteen Stations of the Cross, seems to derive from a circa 1800 drawing entitled Jésus de Consolation et de miséricorde by Nicolas Delerive, a French artist working in Lisbon in the early nineteenth century. The drawing was reproduced by Francesco Bartolozzi (1725-1815), an Italian engraver who lived in Portugal. Interestingly, a commode in the Palazzo Reale in Madrid, which is attributed to Abbiati, is inlaid with Old Testament scenes, suggesting a religious element to Abbiati’s work for the Spanish court.

Fancesco Abbiati (c. 1780-1800), active in the last two decades of the eighteenth century, and originally from Mondello, Lake Como, led an itinerant life working in Milan, Rome and Madrid. Very few pieces of furniture by this cabinet-maker have been recorded to date, but he is known to have produced works for the royal courts of Naples and Madrid.

The present panel is the largest of only ten known signed works by Abbiati, including the celebrated centre table in the J. Paul Getty Museum (inv. no. 84.DA.77) whose top features a comparable border, and another piece sold Christie’s New York, 22 November 2011, lot 319. An intarsia panel depicting Diana and Endymion (art trade) shares a similar frame decoration. Furthermore, the quality of the marquetry frame and intarsia on the present panel related to a pedestal table signed by Abbiati and sold Sotheby's New York, 3 October 2008, lot 271.

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