The antique tradition of incorporating mosaics into marble tops was revived in the third quarter of the eighteenth century in Rome by local craftsmen. Surviving examples with large tesserae are extremely rare, although a few are recorded, including a monumental pair formerly in the Palazzo Borghese, sold Christie's, London, 23 June 1999, lot 100. A pair of console tables conceived in a similar vein with geometric mosaic tops was sold Sotheby's London, 4 December 2007, lot 36, and a further related single table is in the Kunstgewerbemuseum, Berlin.1
The giltwood base on this table is in the manner of Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-78), the celebrated draughtsman, architect and engraver of Roman views. His highly influential designs for furniture were published in the 1769 folio Diverse maniere d'adornare i cammini ed ogni altra parte degli edifici,
which included plates showing tables, chairs, vases and chimney-pieces in an overtly neo-classical style employing antique motifs such as palmettes, lion monopodia and bucrania (ox skulls). The shape of the present tables and the inward curving legs terminating in hoof feet are reminiscent of a pair of tables designed by Piranesi for Pope Clement XIII's nephew Cardinal Rezzonico, now divided between the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
Two console tables and a gueridon with legs headed by ram's masks comparable to those on the present table are illustrated by González-Palacios in his 2004 publication.2
The guerdion has a micromosaic top and was commissioned in Rome by the King of Poland Stanislas Poniatowski, and is now in the Lazienki Palace in Warsaw.
1 A. González-Palacios 1984, p. 102 figs 207-08.
2 A. González-Palacios, 2004, p. 216-18.