The top of this table, with its central map surrounded by historical scenes as well as flowers and insects, belongs to a small group of ivory-inlaid cabinets and plaques from the late 16th early 17th Century. Indeed, a table cabinet in the Philadelphia Museum of Art incorporates a nearly identical world map with identical figures to the angles and in very similar surround to the inside of its fall-front. Further, the surrounding medallions, although depicting bird's-eye-views and maps of Rome and Naples and of islands, are set in very similar frames (A. González-Palacios, Il Tempio del Gusto, Roma e il Regno delle due Sicilie, Milan, 1984, vol. I, pp. 241 - 242 and vol. II, p. 186, fig. 423).
The Philadelphia cabinet is extremely closely related to a pair in the Museo di San Martino in Naples, which also include maps to their ivory panels (González-Palacios, idem., vol. I, p. 241 and vol. II, pp. 184 - 185, figs. 416 - 420). That pair is said to have been given to Antonio Alvarez de Toledo, duca d'Alba and Viceroy of Naples, by the city of Naples in 1623. Their dates of manufacture can be deduced as being 1619 and 1623 by the boundaries in the maps and coat-of-arms on the cabinets.
Alvar González-Palacios believes that both the Philadelphia cabinet and the San Martino pair can be attributed to the same makers who signed another cabinet on later stand in the Museum für angewandte Kunst, Hamburg, Giovanni Battista De Curtis, Gennaro Picicato and an anonymous cabinet-maker who may be identified as Iacobo Fiamengo (González-Palacios, idem, vol. I, pp. 239 - 240, vol. II, pp. 182 - 183, figs. 412 - 415). De Curtis signed one of the main ivory panels on that cabinet, while Picicato signed and dated the ivory panel of the world map as Ianarius Picicato fecit Anno 1597. Unfortunately no further information is known about Picicato. However, the cabinet-maker Iacobo Fiamengo is recorded working with various ivory engravers in the 1590, including Iacobus Manganiello and Petrus Pax, which indicates the presence of several ivory engravers in Naples at the time. However, the signature of Picicato on the engaved map and the closely related maps on cabinets that can be compared to that in Hamburg, may allow a comparison of this table top to Picicato.
It is interesting to note that the surrounding panels of this lot appear to depict various scenes in the life of Philip II of Spain (1527 - 1598). One scene inscribed Quando il Re F si marito con la regina d'ingliterra, which took place in 1554, when Philip married Queen Mary I of England. Prior to that Philip was married to Maria of Portugal (1543 until her death in 1546), which is commemorated on the ivory panels as Quando il Re gionce al campo areno so e fu ricevuta dala regina maria. A further scene inscribed il R:F quando fece la pace con il Re di frantia records the Peace of Cateau-Cambésis which ended the 60-year war between France and Spain.
The map is probably based on Abraham Ortelius' (1528 - 1598) Theatrum Orbis Terrarum which he first published in 1570. His collection of maps was so successful that it was reprinted in 42 editions from 1570 to 1612 and in seven languages, including Italian and Latin.