Born in the early years of the 19th century, Gaetano Bianchini attended courses at the Accademia di Belli Arti, Florence, whilst simultaneously serving an apprenticeship at the Galleria dei Lavori of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure. In 1806, the Etruscan regent, Maria Louisa di Borbone, had issued an ordinance prohibiting the manufacture and sale of pietre dure mosaic work outside the control of the Opificio. However, the rule appears to have been relaxed towards the end of the first quarter of the century, allowing craftsmen such as Bianchini to set up their own workshops. In 1846, having established a successful business, Bianchini was elected a member of the Conservatory of Arts and Crafts, which brought together the best craftsmen in Florence and the wider Grand Duchy. Employing many Russian immigrants trained at the imperial factory at Peterhof, the direct competitor of the Florentine mosaicisti, Bianchini's firm participated in all of the most important international exhibitions of the 1850s and 1860s, including Crystal Palace in 1851, Florence in 1854 and 1861, Paris in 1855 and London again in 1862. On Gaetano's death in 1866, the firm was taken over by his two sons, Telemaco and Antonio, and the business continued until 1884.
According to a descriptive record typed in 1945 by a previous English owner, this finely-inlaid table top was exhibited along with other pieces by Bianchini at the Expostion des produits de l'industrie de toutes les nations, Paris, in 1855. The same document notes that at its public auction later, the table was bid on by representatives of Napoleon III, but "was bought by another competitor for the sum of 40,000 crowns". Commenting on the Esposizione Italiana held in Florence in 1861, the art critic Carlo Finocchietti notes that Bianchini exhibited two tables, both of which had already been shown elsewhere and which were the property of an English gentleman. It is therefore possible that the present top was one of the two tables re-exhibited in Florence.
The 1945 document records that at the time of its exhibition in 1855 and again (possibly) in 1861, this top was supported "by a system of the most elaborate wood carvings, richly gilt". The label accompanying the top when it was last offered at Christie's in 1992 (accounting for its mis-attribution) confirms that the maker of the base described (now unfortunately lost) was the celebrated Florentine ebenista and frequent collaborator of Bianchini, Angiolo Barbetti (d. 1873).
A fine pietre dure table top attributed to Gaetano Bianchini and supported on an elaborately-carved walnut base by Angiolo Barbetti, bearing the arms of the Marchese Balati Nerli, was sold Christie's East, 31 October 2000, lot 474. See Sotheby's London, 4 November 1988, lot 181, for another table exemplifying the collaboration between Bianchini and Barbetti.