This superb pietra dura and specimen marble table is centred by a shaped octagonal panel with a bird amidst fruiting foliage, within a border of conformingly-decorated reserves, inset to the corners with the coat-of-arms of Pedro de Sousa Holstein, 1st duque de Palmela.
One of the most important Portuguese diplomats and statesmen in the first half of the 19th century, Dom Pedro de Sousa Holstein (1781-1850) was born in Turin, a scion of the Portuguese de Sousa family, Lords of Calhariz. While he was a direct descendent of Francisco de Sousa (1631-1711) the 'Holstein' element of his family name came from his paternal grandmother Princess Maria Anna Leopoldine of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck, daughter of Frederick William I, Duke of Schelwig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck (1682-1719). His uncle Frederico Guilherme de Sousa was governor of Portuguese India.
In 1810 Dom Pedro married Eugénia Francisca Xavier Teles da Gama (1798-1860), with whom he had five sons. He was successively made Count of Palmela by Queen Maria I (1734-1816) on 11 April 1812, Marquis de Palmela by King John VI (1767-1826) on 3 July 1823, and Duke of Faial by Queen Maria II (1819-1853) on 4 April 1836. It is on 18 October 1850 that the Queen substituted its Dukedom of Faial with the new title of duque de Palmela. Dom Pedro served as ambassador to London, secretary of state for foreign affairs in Brazil, and held the office of President of the Council of Ministers (or 'Prime Minister') three times.