11122 BEAUTIFULLY DRAWN NICHOLAS II MAHOGANY AND BRASS INLAID OVAL CENTER TABLE Russian. Signed and dated in Cyrillic н в 1904. Measurements: Height: 28 3/4″ (73 cm) Width: 35 1/2″ (90.2 cm) Depth: 25 1/2″ (64.8 cm)
Of mahogany. The oval top with band of channeled gilt brass molding above a frieze with inlaid repeating interlocking brass rings. Four profoundly curving legs are inset with panels of ribbed gilt brass and terminate in squared brass cappings and original brass casters. The four legs united by a curved stretcher with shaped upstand.
Inscribed to the underside in Cyrillic: н в 1904
The present table is one of the only known signed and dated examples of furniture made around the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in Russia that is clearly based on a renewed interest in neoclassical design of the 1790s.
It seems that, like England in the Edwardian period, Russian interiors of the wealthy harked back to the extreme elegance of the later eighteenth century. This trend is also evident in the beautifully cut clothing of the day.
The table is by no means a slavish copy of eighteenth century design, and one detects twentieth century inventiveness within the interesting shaping of the plateau top. The stretcher and the manner in which the brass toes at the ends of the legs are a flush continuance of the profile of the legs and the highly-complex geometry of the brass-inlaid frieze is also a progressive reinvention of motifs found on furniture by Heinrich Gambs (1765-1831).
A somewhat larger table of the late eighteenth century, but of similar spirit and movement is to be found in the Pavlovsk Palace Museum (figure 1).