With a top composed of specimen marbles and pietre dure panels this centre table is designed in the 19th century antiquarian manner. Such varied marble tops were collected by English milordi on the Grand Tour and many were sent back to their ancestral homes where a table base was made to display them. The giltwood lion-mask and paw supports to this table are inspired by Greco-Roman pedestals of antiquity.
The panels of birds, floral sprigs, naïve figures and animals copy the baroque production of the Grand Ducal workshop in Florence, the Opificio delle pietre dure, whilst the oak wreath and rose to the centre are 19th century motifs. By the 19th century Florentine pietre dure had become much more elaborate and the style of simple antiquarian mosaic used here is more familiar to Roman output at the time.
The imitation of 17th century Florentine pietre dure suggest that the top was targeted at the tourist market or may even have been commissioned by an English visitor to Rome. According to family tradition this top was acquired by Francis Hassard, Esq., on the Grand Tour circa 1840. He died in Sicily in 1850 having sent some works of art home to Ireland. The table subsequently passed by descent to the present owner at Harristown House, County Kildare, Ireland.
A comparable but less ornate table top, centred by a pietre dure picture of a horse, is illustrated in A. M. Massinelli, The Gilbert Collection Hardstones, London, 2000, N°26, pp. 92-93.