The inclusion of classical figures taken directly from, or inspired by, antique Roman wall paintings and marble friezes relates to the oeuvres of the renowned cabinet-maker, Giusepe Maggiolini (1738-1814), and the lesser-known but highly accomplished cabinet-maker and intarsiatore, Francesco Abbiati (active 1780-1800). Abbiati, originally from Mondello near Lake Como in Lombardy, worked at the courts of both Naples and Madrid, where he moved in 1791. There are very few recorded pieces signed by Abbiati. One sold anonymously at Christie's, New York, 23 November 2010, lot 274 and another is in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles (G. Wilson & C. Hess, Summary Catalogue of European Decorative Arts in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 2001, pp. 210-211, cat. 421).
Despite all existing signed works by Abbiati being table tops, two further pieces from private collections have been attributed to him by Mario Tavella based on their similarities to the Getty example - one is a secretaire and the other is this poudreuse (M. Tavella, ‘Additions to the Oeuvre of Francesco Abbiati’, Furniture History Society, vol. XXXVIII, 2002, pp. 97-98). It is documented that Abiatti produced lavishly inlaid chests of drawers as well as tables, characterised by sliding fall-fronts and concealed compartments although, unfortunately, no examples have yet been identified.
While his contemporary Maggiolini is generally better known, Abbiati is now justly celebrated for his use of marquetry depicting Greek figures, his controlled and geometric style, in both form and design, and his mechanical devices - all of which are present on this poudeuse (ibid, p. 97).