Details & Cataloguing

Important Furniture, Silver and Ceramics



early 19th century

with a veined white marble top above a frieze drawer, the fall-front with a panel depicting the Athenian general Focione and his wife Cornelia and his children, after a design by Giuseppe Diotti, opening to reveal a fitted interior with a leather-lined writing surface within a border of bone roundels, with a mirrored backboard with six columns and six short drawers with lion mask ring-pull handles, the pigeon-holes with leather-linings, the lower section with a cupboard door
secrétaire: 161cm high, 112 cm wide, 53.5cm deep; 5ft.3in., 3ft.7¾in., 1ft.8½in. framed panel: 75 cm. high, 54 cm. wide; 2ft .5½in., 1ft.9in.
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Catalogue Note

Comparative Literature:
Mario Tavella,Tarsie di Giovanni Maffezzoli, in Antologia delle Belle Arti, 1998, page 166, fig. 4 .
Roberto Valeriani, Due Quadri Lignei di Giovanni Maffezzoli 1776-1818, Carlo Virgilio, Rome, 2005, p. 11, fig.6.

The panel inset on the present secrétaire belongs to a well known series depicting scenes from classical mythology and Greco-Roman history. All of them of similar size, were executed by the Cremonese, Giovanni Maffezzoli mostly between 1805 and 1816. Most of them are recorded in both public and private collections, although a few have been dispersed.

Maffezzoli produced more than one panel taking inspiration from the same subject matter. For example, a virtually identical panel (in its original frame) is recorded in a European private collection.

The cabinet-maker Giovanni Maffezzoli (1776-1818) was the most gifted pupil of the celebrated Royal ebanista Giuseppe Maggiolini (1738-1814), in whose workshop in Parabiago he commenced his apprenticeship in 1791, at the age of fifteen.

A group of furniture, some of which is signed and dated from 1795-1802, by the Cremonese inlayer and cabinet-maker, is in various Private collections in Cremona while other pieces previously in Palazzo Mina-Bolzesi in Cremona have been dispersed.

The quality of Maffezzoli's pictorial marquetry reached very high levels and some of the abovementioned panels presented in frames like paintings in wood, were awarded with medals in the exhibitions of the Arti e Mestieri organised by the Istituto Reale delle Scienze in Milan. He often took as his sources, the work of the painter Giusepepe Diotti (1779-1846), who upheld the classical concept of the supremacy of drawing as the foundation for the figurative arts.
The present scene illustrates General Focione,who refuses 100 talents offered by Alexander and in doing so, he indicates that his family are his most coveted treasure.


Important Furniture, Silver and Ceramics