11094

A FINE AND LARGE SPECIMEN MARBLE AND HARDSTONE TABLE TOP CENTERED BY AN ARMORIAL MICROMOSAIC ROuNDEL, POSSIBLY BY VINCENZO RAFfAELLI

Probably Rome. Circa 1842.

Measurements

Width: 57" (145 cm); Depth: 29 5/8 (75.2 cm); Thickness: 1 1/8 (3 cm).

Research
Of rectangular form with curved corners, edged with white Cararra marble, with a ribbon-tied border of malachite and lapis specimens on a rosso antico ground, inlaid into Paragone de Belgo, the center with a floral paterae the petals of various specimens (see below), with a micro-mosaic impaled coat-of-arms of the Parkinson and Folwer families in the center within an amethyst border, on two later ebonized wooden paired faceted column bases. 

Provenance:
Probably commissioned by John Parkinson of Kinnersley Castle, Herefordshire to celebrate his marriage in 1842.
Collection of Michael Davidson, Elm Park Gardens, London.

The present tabletop is a particularly fine example of the superlative effect created by the combination of fine stone inlay and micromosaic.  Although both techniques are associated with Roman workshops, it is not until the mid nineteenth century that they are combined on tabletops, and even then such examples remain rare. It has been posited that this top could be the work of Vincenzo Raffaelli (1783-1865), son of the most famous Roman worker of micro-mosaics, Giacomo Raffaelli, who is credited with taking the art form to renewed levels of complexity in the late eighteenth century, carefully refining the range of colors and decreasing the size of the minute tiles (tessarae) used. Hot enamel of varied color, was pulled to form long strands and then cut into tiny pieces to make tesserae of the kind seen in the central panel of the present piece. The most complex works in micromosaic contained “more than 5,000 tesserae per square inch”1 and would take several years to complete. Although Giacomo died in 1836, Vincenzo continued his father’s workshop successfully into the mid nineteenth century, the period from which the present tabletop dates.

Full research report available on request.

Full research report available on request.