The shape of this late 18th or early 19th century desk from the Lombardy region in Northern Italy derives from forms of an earlier date, of circa 1700, with marquetry and bone or ivory inlay ornamentation relating to furniture from Southern Germany. This type of decoration was often pictorial, depicting hunting scenes as in Bavarian examples or less commonly, allegorical, showing heavenly figures as in the present example. The influence of Southern German furniture is unsurprising as the Austrian domination of Northern Italy saw a cross-flow of various regional styles. The imagery on the top of the desk shows Apollo with his nine muses. On the front, the muse to the left may be Erato, the muse of lyric and love poetry, who is often shown with a tambourine or lyre while the muse to the right is possibly Clio, the muse of history, the scroll donating a writer when held in the hand. The inclusion of classical figures taken directly from or inspired by Roman wall paintings and marble friezes relates to the oeuvres of the renowned cabinet maker, Giusepe Maggiolini (1738-1814), and the lesser known, Francesco Abbiati (fl. 1780-1800), the former from Lombardy and the latter working extensively in Milan. However, whereas Maggiolini and Abbiati had a controlled and geometric style in both furniture form and design, the present example has employed a less structured approach. This type of furniture was extremely fashionable and continued to be made throughout the 18th and 19th centuries with little variation.