A pair of Italian gilt-bronze mounted composite jasper veneered columns, Rome, probably late 17th century
A. González-Palacios, Las colecciones reales españolas de mosaicos y piedras duras, Madrid, 1990
A. González-Palacios, L’oro di Valadier, Rome, 1997
These fine columns were probably originally part of a pietre dure cabinet formerly at Fettercairn House, although marble-veneered columns on 17th century cabinets on stand normally tend to be of a much lesser scale.
It should be noted how this taste lasted well into the following century - see a group of neoclassical pieces by Luigi Valadier (1726-1785), such as the extensive surtout de table realized for Jacques-Laure Le Tonnelier, bailli de Breteuil (1723-1785) in the late 1770s and now largely in the Royal Palace, Madrid (cf. Palacios, 1997, pp. 215-220). Together with other Roman botteghe, Valadier’s workshop was very active in producing similar pieces for the distinguished Grand Tourists of the time.
The gilt-bronze capitals and bases follow a relatable design to those found on the temples of Flora and Minerva (cf. Palacios, 1990, pp. 213 and 214 respectively) which, intriguingly, also present an identical delicate marble veneers on the columns’ facets. The same veneer of composite marbles is also found in the temple of Mercury from the same commission (cf. idem, p. 219).