The attractive inlay of this table reflects the nineteenthand early twentieth-century taste for intarsia-decorated Italian Renaissance-style furniture. The design of the top, of which a part is original, includes an attractive pattern of intricate inlay assembled with different colored woods. However, elements such as the dentiled apron molding are cut from prefabricated elements, and others are applied upside-down. It remains unknown if the table left the workshop in this state or if intended conservation (or rebuilding) through a dealer is responsible for the ornamental discrepancies. The overall shape, with a rectangular top and a square baluster and base with canted corners, does not appear to be documented in the fifteenth or sixteenth century and is clearly a later invention.(1) A reminiscence of early ecclesiastical furnishings is present.(2) With the introduction of electricity in the last quarter of the nineteenth century in the New York – area, such small tables offered affluent patrons a befitting base for newly acquired lamps. The pieces could also effectively display bronzes or small collector’s items, even in modestly sized rooms such as personal studies and libraries.
Catalogue entry from: Wolfram Koeppe. The Robert Lehman Collection. Decorative Arts, Vol. XV. Wolfram Koeppe, et al. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art in association with Princeton University Press, 2012, p. 274.
1. For the type of abstract inlay, see Raggio, Olga and Antoine M. Wilmering. The Gubbio Studiolo and Its Conservation. 2 vols. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1999; Kisluk-Grosheide, Koeppe, and Rieder 2006, pp. 8 – 9, no. 1 and fig. 1.
2. Massinelli, Anna Maria. Il mobile toscano. Milan, 1993, p. 30, fig. 34, p. 54, fig. 83 (base of a choir lectern).