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AN ITALIAN MICROMOSAIC AND MARBLE TABLE TOP ON AN ORMOLU AND WHITE-PAINTED BASE
AN ITALIAN MICROMOSAIC AND MARBLE TABLE TOP ON AN ORMOLU AND WHITE-PAINTED BASE
AN ITALIAN MICROMOSAIC AND MARBLE TABLE TOP ON AN ORMOLU AND WHITE-PAINTED BASE
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AN ITALIAN MICROMOSAIC AND MARBLE TABLE TOP ON AN ORMOLU AND WHITE-PAINTED BASE
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Specified lots are being stored at Crozier Park Ro… Read more JULIANS PARK, HERTFORDSHIRE
AN ITALIAN MICROMOSAIC AND MARBLE TABLE TOP ON AN ORMOLU AND WHITE-PAINTED BASE

THE TOP ATTRIBUTED TO GIACOMO RAFFAELLI E STUDIO, ROME, CIRCA 1830, THE BASE ATTRIBUTED TO MAISON JANSEN, PARIS, EARLY 20TH CENTURY

Details
AN ITALIAN MICROMOSAIC AND MARBLE TABLE TOP ON AN ORMOLU AND WHITE-PAINTED BASE
THE TOP ATTRIBUTED TO GIACOMO RAFFAELLI E STUDIO, ROME, CIRCA 1830, THE BASE ATTRIBUTED TO MAISON JANSEN, PARIS, EARLY 20TH CENTURY
The circular Bardiglio marble top inset with a central panel of grape vines and convolvulus on a black ground, surrounded by eight roundels with butterflies on a blue ground and eight shaped semi-circular panels of various birds including a swan, mallard, kingfisher, Asian duck and various songbirds, on three panelled scrolled legs and paw feet, on a white-painted and parcel-gilt concave-sided tripartite plinth
30 1/8 in. (76.5 cm.) high; 31 ¾ in. (80.5 cm.) diameter
Provenance
Probably acquired by Mrs. Audrey Field (née James) in Paris, circa 1937 (photographed in her apartment at 19 Quai Malaquai, Paris).
Special Notice

Specified lots are being stored at Crozier Park Royal (details below) or will be removed from Christie’s, 8 King Street, London, SW1Y 6QT by 5.00pm on the day of the sale. Christie’s will inform you if the lot has been sent offsite. If the lot is at has been transferred to Crozier Park Royal, it will be available for collection from 12.00pm on the second business day following the sale. Please call Christie’s Client Service 24 hours in advance to book a collection time at Crozier Park Royal. All collections from Crozier 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, 8 King Street, it will be available for collection on any working day (not weekends) from 9.00am to 5.00pm

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Amelia Walker
Amelia Walker Private & Iconic Collections

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Lot Essay


The butterfly is Raffaelli’s trademark, and he is also known to have specialised in micromosaic depictions of birds and wildfowl often sourced from paintings and engravings by Johann Wenzel Peter (1745 – 1829). The coupling of micromosaic inset into a grey Bardiglio or Bleu Turquin marble top is also indicative of his style, as Raffaelli was also a skilled artisan in hardstone.

Giacomo Raffaelli (1753-1836) was Roman by birth and achieved notable success early in his career. Trained as a sculptor and painter, by 1775 he was already best known for his work in micromosaic, a medium which he is credited with inventing, creating complex compositions using tiny tesserae made from spun enamel of exceptional finesse, a technical innovation made possible through the work of the chemist Alessio Mattioli. He was extensively patronised by Pope Pius XV (d. 1799), and worked in both the Vatican workshops as well as from his own studio in the Piazza di Spagna. Raffaelli was also a successful dealer in high quality works of art - not all of which were made by him. Following the French occupation of Rome in 1797, with its consequent decentralization of the Vatican's control over artists and the subsequent decline of the mosaic market in Rome, Raffaelli transferred his workshop to the Milanese Court of Eugene Bonaparte, Napoleon's brother, in 1804. With the collapse of the Court in Milan, Raffaelli returned to Rome between 1815-20, and his workshop in the via del Babuino continued to flourish, increasingly under the direction of his son Vincenzo, up to and beyond Rafaelli's death in 1836.

In Roman times, butterflies symbolised the belief that the soul leaves the body through the mouth at the time of death and so subsequently represented rebirth. The butterfly is a recurrent motif in Raffaelli’s oeuvre, as is the lapis blue ground within which the butterflies are here framed.
Compare:
- M. Massinelli, Giacomo Raffaelli (1753-1836) Maestro di stile e di mosaic, Florence, 2018, pp. 225-226.
- Christie’s, London, 15 July 2020, lot 109 (circular micromosaic plaque depicting a colourful butterfly on a white ground, signed on the reverse 'Giacomo Raffaelli / Fece / Roma 1787', 2 ¾ in. (66 mm.) diam.)
- D. Petochi, I mosaici minuti Romani, Florence, 1981, p. 111, pl. 33.
- Specimen block, attributed to Raffaelli, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (LOAN:GILBERT.109:1, 2-2008), see J. Hanisee Gabriel, The Gilbert Collection. Micromosaics, London, 2000, No. 9 (pp. 60-61).

Audrey Field kept an apartment in Paris between 1936 and 1940, at 19 Quai Malaquai. Photographs from a family album show this table as well as one of the eagle consoles from the foyer of the Teatro della Scala, Milan (lots 46-7) in her apartment.

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