The 19th Century Italian (Roman) multi-coloured table-top is mosaiced with a wide variety of marbles and framed in squares by rosso antico marble, while its border of golden Siena marble is inlaid with numbered identification medallions. The late owner believed that it was acquired on the Grand Tour by the connoisseur, Edward, Viscount Lascelles (d. 1814), a veritable patron of the arts, for Harewood House, Hanover Square, London, which was purchased in 1795 (M. Mauchline, Harewood House, Ashbourne, 1992, pp. 113-114 and 119). The table would then have passed by descent at Harewood House, Yorkshire, before being acquired by Mr. Whitbread.
The table's Grecian-black sideboard-table frame, conceived in the Pompeian or Etruscan manner, may possibly have been commissioned around 1800 by the connoisseur Thomas Hope (d. 1842) for his London
mansion-museum in Duchess Street. His parlours, with their black and gilt enrichments, served for the display of Greek vases, and this table may possibly be the one featured in the 'Second Room of Greek Vases' in his guide to the house entitled Household Furniture and Interior Decoration, 1807, pl. IV. The table legs are likely to have terminated in ormolu plinths as illustrated in the guide, and corresponding to Hope's Roman spear 'fire screen' illustrated in his Guide (ibid., pl. XVIII). The parlour's festive decoration, which was described as comprising 'insignia of Bacchus', included Arcadian Pan reeds. These served as 'rafters' to sustain the vase-shelves, and also provided an 'Egyptian' element for the table columns. Hope's principal Dining-Room was furnished with a larger version of this table, and its golden ornaments were also described as comprising 'emblems of Bacchus and of Ceres' (ibid., pl. IX). The table's architecture corresponds to that introduced in the 1790s in the Rue de Colonnes, Paris, and comprises palm-flowers rising above Grecian Doric pillars, which are paired in the triumphal-arch manner (R. Rosenblum, Transformations in Late Eighteenth Century Art, New Jersey, 1970, pls. 145 and 146). The Grecian Doric is also evoked by the table's triumphal wreaths, which drived from the Grecian Choragic Monument of Thrasyllus, which had been illustrated in J. Stuart and N. Revett, The Antiquities of Athens, 1762. Ribboned vine wreaths also featured on Hope's dining-room sideboard-pedestals, which were formed as vase-capped 'altars' (Hope, op. cit., pl. IX). The table's central tablet, comprising a palm-flowered lozenge compartment, corresponds to a pattern featured on one of Hope's sets of chairs (Hope, op. cit., pl. VII).
Unlike much of Hope's Duchess Street furniture, the location of his sideboard-tables has been undocumented, and this increases the possibility that this is actually one of his Duchess Street tables.
A related mosaic marble slab, also with a number-inlaid Siena border, was displayed on a commmode executed in the 1780s by the Berlin court cabinet-maker Johann Gottlob Fiedler (sold by Catherine, Countess of Clanwilliam, in these Rooms, 13 June 1991, lot 90).