This impressive table bears the armorial of the Barberini family, with three bees, and in this instance with the addition of a cardinal's hat. The members of the family likely to have commissioned this table include the cardinals Francesco Barberini, Antonio Barberini the elder, and Antonio Barberini the younger, all of whom were appointed cardinal by Maffeo Barberini (1568-1644), who was elected Pope Urban VIII in 1623.
Alvar González-Palacios (op. cit.) attributes this table to the carver Alessandro Nave, mentioned in the Barberini archives as 'M. ro Alessandro Nave falegname di palazzo', and was recorded as working for the family at the Convento dei Padri Cappucini from 1632, at the Palazzo Barberini from 1629, and at Castel Gandolfo from 1637. Little else is known about Nave. Nave's son Francesco also worked for the Barberini family, supplying bookcases with the arms of Antonio Barberini the elder for the sacristy of S. Maria sopra Minerva (ill. Lizzani and Gonzlez-Palacios, op. cit., p. XVII, fig. XX).
The bold, muscular carving of this table is a defining feature of Roman furniture of the period. A table with the coat-of-arms of Cardinal Sfondrato, featuring closely related scrolls framing a shell motif, as featured to the top of the legs of the Barberini table, is illustrated in Gonzlez-Palacios op. cit., vol. II, p. 53, figs. 82-3. A medal cabinet with the arms of the Barberini, of similarly strong architectural form, likely to have been supplied to Maffeo Barberini, is in the Art Institute of Chicago (illustrated in A. González-Palacios, Il Mobile di Corte Italiano, 1985, p. 59, and recently exhibited in S. Walker and F. Hammond eds., Life and the Arts in Baroque Rome, New York, 1999, cat. 61).
Most recently, this table was featured in the renowned Contini-Bonacossi collection, which belonged to Alessandro Contini-Bonacossi, who resided in the Villa Pratello Orsini, previously with the Strozzi familly, and later re-baptized Villa Vittoria (today it is the Palazzo dei Congressi) by Alessandro, before a significant part of it passed to the State and the Uffizi collection. It comprised an impressive group of Old Master paintings, important early maiolica and Renaissance furniture.