As Lady Anne Miller commented in a letter of 1771, written from Naples:- 'This city is famous for a manufacture of tortoiseshell, which they inlay curiously with gold, and are very ingenious at representing any object you choose.' The technique of piqué is thought to have originated at the end of the 16th century in Naples. Horn or tortoiseshell was softened in boiling water with olive oil. When soft, a design of mother-of-pearl, gold or silver strips or pinpoints was impressed.
Signed pieces include an inkstand in the Wallace Collection (Inv. no. XXIIIA 35) by Sarao; a cabinet in the Royal Collection in England, which is signed 'DE LAURENZIE F' and an inkstand by Nicolaus Storace, sold by Lord Rothschild at Christie's London, 12 May 1970, lot 40.R