Inlay work table top

This 18th century inlay work table top with floral and dove motif decorations was made using the Florentine mosaic technique.

The Florentine mosaic technique - also called ‘commesso’ in Italian - used for this floral and dove motif table top is a a veritable patchwork of only apparently unitary images born from the combination of a multitude of stone pieces which are shaped and assembled to fit together perfectly. The word ‘commesso’ derives from the Latin ‘committere’ meaning putting together.

The collection

The art work

On this table decorated with semi precious stone inlay, multi-coloured doves depicted with their wings outstretched fly amongst interwoven floral patterns against the black background of the table top. Its fine decorations with their wealth of minute details provide precious testimony to the Florentine mosaic style used in the seventeenth century workshops of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure.

This latter was founded in 1588 by Ferdinando I of the Medici as an artistic workshop specialising in the working of semi precious stones and the creation of artistic objects designed to grace the residences of Grand Dukes or to be given as gifts to the aristocratic houses of Europe. With the birth of the Italian Kingdom and the end of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, the Opificio went into serious crisis in the absence of its principal client but the great technical ability of its craftsmen meant that, in the next century it became one of the most prestigious restoration institutes in the world.