Piqué, the technique of decorating tortoiseshell by piercing its surface and filling the holes with gold or silver pins is thought to have originated in Naples in the late 16th century though documentary evidence is scarce. There are examples of the work in many collections and it is mentioned in sale catalogues and advertisements of the late 17th and early 18th century. Queen Charlotte owned a number of pieces of picay including a snuff-box, inkstand and a scalloped box and in 1755 Robert Adam bought in Naples three 'very handsome snuff-boxes of yellow and black tortoise-shell studded with gold' (John Fleming, Robert Adam and his Circle..., London, 1962, p.157). A piqué inkstand signed by the craftsman Sarao is in The Wallace Collection (inv. no. XXIIIA 35), while the greatest collections were formed by The Rothschilds at both Mentmore and Waddesdon, the latter thoroughly discussed in G. de Bellaigue, the James A. De Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor; Furniture, clocks and Gilt-Bronzes,, London, 1974, pp. 827-844.