15,000 - 20,000 GBP
AN ITALIAN GILT-BRONZE AND PIETRE DURE MOUNTED EBONY CABINET, BY GIOVANNI BATTISTA GATTI (1816-89), ROME THIRD QUARTER 19TH CENTURY
inlaid with lapis lazuli, red porphyry, verde antico, giallo antico, rosso antico, and jasper panels, opening to reveal twelve drawers, label to the back of top central drawer 'Cav. Gio. Battista Gatti, Intarsiatore in Avorio, Ebano, Pietre dure, etc. Via Sistina N⁰. 47.'
90cm. high, 132cm. wide, 42cm. deep; 2ft. 11½in., 4ft. 4in., 1ft. 4½in.
In overall good conserved condition. Gilt-bronze mounts with very minor tarnishing and scratches.
One small loss to moulding to top right of right side. Back left finial would benefit from being securely re-attached. One chip to bottom right of left side.
The front with some minor losses to gilding throughout.
Top right: The top right with one small loss to the moulding at the tip of the scroll. One detached moulding to the left of the orange jasper inset on the top right.
Central top drawer: base of a scroll on the right with detached veneer section which has been re-glued. Base of a scroll on the left with a detached veneer section which has been re-glued. Gatti label underneath.
Top left: some minor chipping to corners of orange jasper inset. One minor section to lapis lazuli replaced to one column.
One elongated thin veneer lifting to bottom edge.
Generally with minor scratches and very minor cracks to panels and veneer surface.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
Working in the Renaissance Revival manner specialising in marquetry and inlay details, Giovanni Battista Gatti (1816-1889) and his Italian contemporaries helped to establish this style as a dominant aesthetic force in the 1860's and 1870's. Gatti was born in Florence where he became apprenticed to the brothers Luigi and Angelo Falcini who specialised in marquetry. Having studied in Rome and Florence, he worked as a journey-man cabinet-maker before establishing his own workshop at Faenza in the 1870's.
He enjoyed the support of imperial, aristocratic and ecclesiastical patrons in Europe including the Austrian Emperor, the Duke of Hamilton and Cardinal Amant, and was also popular amongst American industrial collectors such as Wright E. Post and William Gilstrap. Examples of his work are found not only in the Victorian and Albert Museum, but also in the Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City, and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Gatti, whose name translates from the Italian as 'cats', sometimes signed his works with the rebus of a cat's face.
There is no equivalent to this present cabinet by Gatti so far recorded. While his ebony furniture pieces inlaid with ivory are far more known, like his contemporary Ferdinando Pogliani (1832-1899), he did make use of hardstones, principally of lapis lazuli, for instance used for columns and small hardstone roundels on a cabinet offered Sotheby's London, 7 November 1985, lot 513. A more extensive use of hardstones is encountered through a mirror frame sold Sotheby's London, Arts of Europe, 4 December 2012, lot 315, comprising Egyptian porphyry, lapis lazuli, green porphyry and jaspers.
Gatti's spectacular inlaid exhibition pieces gained him numerous awards at Europe's burgeoning international industrial and cultural expos: at the 'Paris Expositions Universelles' (First Class Medal 1855; diplôme d'honneur, 1867; Gold Medal 1878) and at 'Vienna's Internationalische Ausstellung' (1873).