Carlo Bugatti, the father of the car designer, Ettore, and the renowned sculptor of bronze, Rembrandt, earned international acclaim for his furniture and object designs. While initially best known for his exotic and highly individual furnishings, he also created ceramic objects, musical instruments, textiles and, late in his career, an extraordinary series of silver works.
After over twenty years of furniture making in Milan, in 1904 Bugatti sold his workshop and he and his family moved their primary residence to Paris. It was there that, under the auspices of the highly regarded firm A. A. Hébrard, primarily known as a foundry for art bronzes (including those of Carlo's son Rembrandt and other such exalted works as Auguste Rodin's Thinker), he created his extraordinary cast metal pieces. Bugatti's metal works, executed with the astonishing skill typical of Hébrard, were notorious for the disconcerting and fantastical creatures they displayed. Creatures of Bugatti's own making, they were amalgamations of parts from various recognizable animals and insects joined with components from beasts of his own imagined kingdom.
Encircled by dragonflies the here offered tray employs a motif Bugatti used throughout his life; it appears on several silver tea sets, in his jewelry designs and also on the vellum of his earlier furnishings.
At the turn of the century, Bugatti's metal works were displayed numerous times; in December 1907 at the Galerie Hébrard, and from 1907 until 1911 at the annual salons of the Société des Artistes Decorateurs in Paris. Bugatti's metal works are included in the Cleveland Museum of Art.