This densely inlaid marquetry panel, which was originally designed as a tabletop, is signed by Francesco Abbiati, a cabinetmaker who was active at the end of the 18th century and who originated from Mondello near Lake Como in Lombardy. He delivered pieces to the Neapolitan court as well as the Court of Madrid. There are few signed pieces by Abbiati though three known examples exist: two are in private collections and one in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, illustrated in G. Wilson and C. Hess, Summary Catalogue of European Decorative Arts in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 2001, pp. 210-211, no. 421.
Although his contemporary Giuseppe Maggiolini is generally better known, Abbiati is now justly celebrated for his use of marquetry depicting Greek figures. (See A. González-Palacios, Il Gusto dei Principi, Arte del Corte del XVII e del XVIII Secolo, Vol. II, Milan, 1993, pp. 319-323 and M. Tavella, "Additions to the Oeuvre of Francesco Abbiati, Furniture History Society, vol. XXXVIII, 2002, pp. 97-99.)
Though only the existing tables (and this tabletop) are signed, Abbiati was also known to have made inlaid chests of drawers, and his pieces were acknowledged for their dense and intricate marquetry as well as their mechanical devices. Two further pieces (both in private collections), a secretaire and dressing table, have been attributed to Abbiati by Mario Tavella based on their similarity to the Getty table. Tavella identifies the design sources for the marquetry of these pieces as based on engravings by Nicolas Ponce, published in Paris in 1786 in his Description des Bains de Titus, Maison Dorée after the wall paintings from the Bath of Titus in Rome, and on the marble reliefs of the Museu Pio Clementino in the Vatican illustrated in engravings by Locatelli published in Rome in 1788 (Ibid, pp. 97-98).