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A SOUTH ITALIAN SPECIMEN MARBLE TABLE TOP
This lot will be removed to Christie’s Park Royal.… Read more
A SOUTH ITALIAN SPECIMEN MARBLE TABLE TOP

NAPLES, SECOND HALF 18TH CENTURY

Details
A SOUTH ITALIAN SPECIMEN MARBLE TABLE TOP
NAPLES, SECOND HALF 18TH CENTURY
With a geometrical cube pattern, comprising pietra del Vesuvio, pietra di lava, palombino, giallo, granito, breccia and labradorite marbles surrounded by a geometric interlaced cartouche within a later cippolino moulded border
38 ½ in. (97.5 cm.) wide; 23 in. (58.5 cm.) deep
Special Notice

This lot will be removed to Christie’s Park Royal. Christie’s will inform you if the lot has been sent offsite. Our removal and storage of the lot is subject to the terms and conditions of storage which can be found at Christies.com/storage and our fees for storage are set out in the table below - these will apply whether the lot remains with Christie’s or is removed elsewhere. Please call Christie’s Client Service 24 hours in advance to book a collection time at Christie’s Park Royal. All collections from Christie’s Park Royal will be by pre-booked appointment only. Tel: +44 (0)20 7839 9060 Email: cscollectionsuk@christies.com. If the lot remains at Christie’s it will be available for collection on any working day 9.00 am to 5.00 pm. Lots are not available for collection at weekends.

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Paul Gallois
Paul Gallois

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Lot Essay

This geometric arrangement of specimen marble samples of pietra del Vesuvio, often combined with meandering borders, is typical of the Neapolitan production of the second half of the 18th century. These tops, composed of various sorts of Lava expelled by Mount Vesuvius at different volcanic eruptions, were very much in favour throughout Europe in the second half of the 18th century. When Charles Bourbon (d. 1788), son of Philip V of Spain, arrived at his Palazzo Reale in Naples in 1734, he immediately placed extensive commissions with local craftsmen to decorate the Palazzo in this fashionable technique. He transferred a number of artisans from the Medici workshops in Florence, including some responsible for the manufacture of pietre dure to Naples in 1737. He recruited Francesco Ghinghi, whom he had met while visiting the Grand Ducal Pietre Dure Workshop in Florence as a child, to direct the Royal Pietre Dure atelier. Established at San Carlo alle Mortelle in 1737 with nine Tuscan employees, the workshop was responsible for the manufacture of highly ambitious projects as the Royal chapel tabernacle at Caserta in 1753, as well as numerous and much admired pietre dure tops of pictorial and geometrical design. One such admirer, the Abbé Richard, remarked: There are workers in Naples who are singularly skilled at working marble and making inlaid tables in which foreign visitors are very interested.

Various closely related tops to the present lot are discussed and illustrated in A. Gonzalez-Palacios, Las Colecciones Reales Espanolas de Mosaicos y Pietras Duras, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, n.56, p.264, n.60, pp.272-3.

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