• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7745

    Important European Furniture, Sculpture & Clocks

    9 July 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 6



    Price Realised  


    The rectangular top within a rope-twist and floral-cast edge, above a pierced cresting centred by a female mask flanked by C-scrolls and foliage, on winged lion monopodiae supports joined by scroll and acanthus-carved stretchers centred by a dragon-headed eagle and terminating in paw feet resting on moulded spreading plinths
    36½ in. (92.5 cm.) high; 70½ in. (179 cm.) wide; 35¼ in. (89.5 cm.) deep

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    The design of this superb Roman console table is derived from two celebrated bronze console tables made in 1742 by Francesco Giardoni (1692-1757) in order to display two Antique mosaic tops discovered by Cardinale Giuseppe Alessandro Furietti at Villa Adriana, near Tivoli, (see A. González-Palacios Arredi e Ornamenti alla Corte di Roma 1560-1795, Milan, 2004, p. 181). They were given to Pope Benedetto XIV, who later offered them to the Capitoline museums, where they still are conserved. Emblematic of an early neoclassical style, these bronze consoles were very much admired because they successfully blended classical forms, such as the lion monopodiae, with baroque decorative elements, and strongly influenced Roman production of the mid-18th century, with a number of giltwood examples, including the present console table, being produced by skilled Roman intagliatori. Among these, A. González-Palacios discusses and illustrates a virtually identical example in the Palazzo del Quirinale. Of almost identical dimensions, there are only very minor variations to the modeling of the lions' heads and to the stretcher, and the absence of an extra foliate swag to the frieze (see A. González-Palacios Il Patrimonio artistico del Quirinale, I Mobili Italiani, Milan, 1996, pl. 49, p. 173). Further related consoles tables in the Quirinale are equally discussed by González-Palacios (op. cit.).

    Interestingly, none of the related Quirinale consoles described are fitted with the lavish, finely cast and foliate ormolu border to the marble top, which is featured on the present console table. These ormolu mouldings, a Roman specialty, were found bordering lavish marble tops which adorned the most prestigious of 18th Century pieces. Roman bronziers, such as Antonio de Rossi, chased and gilt the borders for such precious tops as the mosaic tops of a pair of console tables attributed to Antonio Asprucci, and sold at Christie's London, 23 June 1999, lot 100. An interesting period document refers to de Rossi having supplied '32 palmi di cornice di rame dorato fatte a foglia e sottofoglia cisellate e dorate, assestate e poste in opera sopra due tavole di pietra dell'appartamento di Sua Eccellenza nel Palazzo di Roma'.

    A further closely related Roman console table exhibited in the 'Pompeo Batoni, 1708-1787, l'Europa delle Corti e il Grand Tour', exhibition in Lucca, 6 December 2008 - 3 May 2009, is illustrated and described by Enrico Colle in the exhibition catalogue, n. 93, p.366-367. With only minute differences, once again, this further example outlines the popularity of the model in mid-18th century Rome. This console table was immortalised in 1769 by Pompeo Battoni in his picture 'L'Imperatore Giuseppe II con il fratello Pietro Leopoldo'. Enrico Colle suggests a number of Roman intagliatori as the potential carvers for these various console tables. These include Domenico Barbiani, who worked for the Pallavicini between 1724 and 1743, for the Borghese in 1740 and for the Corsini in 1736, Cesare and Pietro Bracci, who worked between 1735 and 1738 on the parade coaches of the Corsini family, and finally Giacomo Bonario who is recorded as having carved a pair of console tables in 1742 for the Corsini family.

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