These elegant à l'antique gueridons, like several other pieces in the sale, were formerly acquired from the celebrated Turin dealer Pietro Accorsi (1891-1982), whose palazzo and gallery on Via Accorsi were a magnet for collectors all over the world. Much of his private collection, including extraordinary pieces by Pietro Piffetti, is now open to the public as the Fondazione Accorsi.
The fashionable 'antique' form of these impressive gueridons reflects the influence in Italy early in the 19th Century of Parisian designers such as Charles Percier and Pierre-François-Honoré Fontaine, whose Recueil des Décorations Intérieures of 1812 played a significant role in disseminating the new Empire style.
The swan was a particular leitmotif of the period, appearing for instance as supports to arms of chairs, as on the celebrated chairs featuring in designs by Percier and Fontaine for Empress Josephine's bedroom at the Château de Saint Cloud, examples of which are now at Malmaison (see A. González-Palacios, The French Empire Style, Milan, 1966, p. 97, fig. 42) or as part of the supports to a gueridon- washstand, as on the example supplied to Napoleon by Biennais, also designed by Percier (see C. Huchet de Quenetain, Les Styles Consulat & Empire, Paris, 2005, p. 157).