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Furniture

Rectangular oak and ebony veneered cabinet on a separate base.  Ebony and gilt metal sprially turned columns at the corners which support a projecting gadrooned cornice supporting mottled red marble top.   the single door inset with eleven pietre dure pan

Cabinet ©

The furniture in this section shares a common technique known as pietra dura. This form of pictorial decoration using semi-precious hardstones was practiced by the ancient Romans and revived in several Italian cities in the early sixteenth century. A design is pasted on to a thin slice of stone and carefully sawn out using a wire saw. The resulting pieces are then laid like a jigsaw puzzle into spaces cut from other stones.

The chief uses of pietra dura in the Renaissance were for massive table tops and for the doors and drawers of large cabinets. In 1588 Grand Duke Ferdinando I de Medici established a workshop in the Uffizi at Florence that quickly became the leading centre for the art and remained in production for two centuries. Other rulers later founded their own workshops, of which the most celebrated was set up by Louis XIV at the Gobelins in Paris.

By the later eighteenth century, earlier furniture decorated with pietra dura had become unfashionable and was often broken up. However the panels were prized and frequently re-used in a new context. George IV's collection of furniture includes an outstanding group of examples of this practice.

Style of Giovanni Battista Foggini (1652-1725)

Casket and stand

Adam Weisweiler (1744-1820)

Cabinet

Martin-Eloy Lignereux (1752-1809)

Pair of cabinets

Attributed to Robert Hume (active 1808-40)

Cabinet

Morel & Seddon

Pier table

Attributed to Jean Pelletier (active c.1681-d. 1705)

Pair of side tables

Circle of Tiziano Aspetti (active 1565-1607)

Pair of firedogs with Mars and Venus

Leone Leoni (1509-90)

Philip II (1527-98)

Attributed to Felice Palma (1583-1625)

Jupiter hurling thunderbolts

After Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680)

David

After Tiziano Aspetti (active 1565-1607)

Hercules with the shirt of Nessus

Pietro Tacca (1577-1640)

Prancing horse

After Giambologna (1529-1608)

Nymph surprised by a Satyr

After Giambologna (1529-1608)

Nessus abducting Deianira