9288

A MOST UNUSUAL BOXWOOD LIBRARY TABLE IN THE MANNER OF ANDREA BRUSTOLON

Probably English. Circa 1820.

Measurements

Height: 31 1/4" (79 1/2cm)
Width: 55" (140cm)
Depth: 43 1/4" (110cm)

Research
Of boxwood. The rectangular top with original tooled Morocco leather inset and a molded edge, the top above the apron profusely carved to all four sides with fruit and foliage, the whole raised on four legs, each carved as a classical figure resting on a tree trunk, each figure raised on a round plinth, each leg terminating in a hooved foot.

This highly unusual table is conceived in the distinctive manner of the renowned seventeenth-century Venetian sculptor and furniture maker Andrea Brustolon (1662 – 1732).

Brustolon trained under the celebrated Genoese carver and sculptor Filippo Parodi, from whom he gained the expertise needed to carve the exquisitely detailed, fantastical furniture which adorned the great Venetian palazzi at the end of the seventeenth century. Always striving for ‘the grand effect’ over the mundane requirements of utility, his work came to epitomise this highly sophisticated and opulent style.

Brustolon’s best known commission, for the great Venetian patriarch Pietro Venier, now in the Ca’ Rezzonico Museum, Venice, is more akin to sculpture than furniture.1 The pieces, which include armchairs with tree-like arms supported by carved figures, a signed side table and vase stand supported by a carved figure of Hercules (figure 1), and a series of elaborate stands, are all conceived in the distinctive theatrical and naturalistic manner that inspired the present table.

The form of the table is highly inventive, with four full length figures forming the legs, each individually designed. They represent Prometheus chained at the wrists, Cinyras, the father of Adonis, who split open a myrrh tree from which emerged his new born son, and Mercury, who is depicted here as a beardless youth carrying a purse, his badge as one of the Roman gods of commerce. Hercules, one of Brustolon’s favorite characters is also shown, bearing a club and a lion’s skin. It is a pleasing design feature that one side of the carved frieze is subtly arched to accommodate the sitter, while the foliate carved decoration on side facing the room is allowed greater profusion.

Full research report available on request.

Full research report available on request.