• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1987

    Important European Furniture, Works of Art, Ceramics, Carpets, And Glass

    20 May 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 252

    AN ITALIAN BLUE AND WHITE-PAINTED, PIETRA-DURA AND PIETRA PAESINA INLAID TABLE

    LATE 18TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    AN ITALIAN BLUE AND WHITE-PAINTED, PIETRA-DURA AND PIETRA PAESINA INLAID TABLE
    LATE 18TH CENTURY
    The black-inlaid white marble top above a frieze of stone panels with buildings in landscapes on paterae and floral-carved square tapering legs, inscribed in graphite '2504' and a further white chalk inscription
    31 in. (78.5 cm.) high, 34½ in. (87.5 cm.) wide, 26¼ in. (66.5 cm.) deep


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    Pietra paesina, the marble in the background of the plaques on the table's frieze, is mined from the Arno area of Italy. Its literal translation, "landscape stone," aptly captures its fantastically colored and figured graining. This landscape pattern was created when the stone fractured from the earth's movement and water then passed through and reacted to the oxides in its chemical makeup. The marble can then be cut in such a way to exploit these patterns. As seen on the plaque detail here, there is the sense of trees arching over the building.

    Small plaques of pietra paesina were popular for the decoration of cabinets and tables. Though primarily associated with Italian furniture, pietra paesina was also used in Germany.