With their naturalistically-carved supports and rockwork-carved base, these striking consoles relate to finely-carved examples produced in North Italy, specifically Lombardy, in the mid-18th Century.
Interestingly, these consoles are further related to the oeuvre of the intagliatore Nicola Carletti, known to have worked predominantly for the Chigi, a Roman princely family.
Related works by or attributed to Carletti include a pair of parcel-gilt, polychrome-decorated and naturalistically-carved console tables dated circa 1769. Of smaller scale but also carved in the form of oak trees, emblematic of the Chigi family, these console were sold at Christie's New York, 26 October 1994, lot 110. The latter consoles were found through research carried out by Alvar González-Palacios in the Vatican Archives, to have been supplied as part of a group of five tavolini to Cardinal Flavio II Chigi for his Villa Chigi in Salaria in 1769.
The distinctively naturalistic designs of both the present examples and the Chigi consoles are clearly inspired by Roman baroque forms from the 17th century, including a table in the Palazzo Pitti, Florence, attributed to the celebrated Italian baroque architect and sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini (ill. A. González-Palacios, Il Tempio del Gusto, Roma e il Regno delle Due Sicilie, Milan, 1984, vol. I, p. 57, fig. VII).
Two designs for related tables in the Stockholm National Museum are illustrated op. cit., vol. II, figs. 181-2, and further related examples sold at auction include a table sold at Christie's, Amsterdam, 27 June 2006, lot 424, and a pair of consoles sold at Christie's, New York, 17 October 1997, lot 43 ($90,000).
Such naturalistic ornament was also favoured by contemporary English rococo designers for consoles, notably Thomas Johnson, although often in a lighter vein. A related console attributed to Johnson from the collection of the Earl of Dartmouth is illustrated in A. Coleridge, Chippendale Furniture, London, 1968, fig. 99, while another is at Corsham Court, Wiltshire.