The fashion for exotic lacquers from China and Japan reached its apogee in Venice in the 18th Century. Venetian laccatori were among the first to imitate lacquer, and their furniture and objects were much sought after. At first, chinoiserie motifs closely imitated oriental prototypes but after the middle of the 18th Century, Venetian lacquerers created a variety of different designs, combining chinoiserie motifs with lanscapes, birds, animals and figures. Various imitations of lacquerware were also developed in Venice, such as the technique known as arte povera or lacca povera. The use of printed vignettes glued to the surface facilitated the manufacturing process while lowering the price of such production. Intriguingly, in order to protect the final result, up to 18 layers of a specific type of varnish called 'sandracca' were applied to the decoration. The base of this table shows an untouched 'sandracca' surface with its characteristic fine craquelure.
The shaped top of the present table is related to that of a concave-sided tray table illustrated in S. Levy, Lacche Veneziane Settecentesche, Milan, 1999, vol.2, p.467.