An unusual and very fine late 19th century ormolu-mounted amboyna and goncalo alves specimen marble centre table, the circular top inset with a superb collection of variously coloured circular specimen marbles and agates against a black marble ground, with a gadrooned ormolu banded edge above a shallow apron, raised on a central turned baluster stem carved with lotus leaves standing on a stylised radiating petal foot with four separate finely turned foliate supports, on a splayed quatro form plinth base with inverted goncalo alves bun feet with brass castors.
Specimen marble tops were first produced in the late 16th century by the great Florentine and Roman makers of 'pietre dure' using inlaid precious coloured marbles. The Florentine workshops were owned by the immensely powerful Medici, the Grand Dukes of Tuscany who produced these magnificent tops as royal and diplomatic gifts.
The marble tops were richly decorated with geometric or pictorial designs that were avidly sought by European collectors as they travelled through Italy on the Grand Tour from the late 17th century onwards. On their return the new owners would proudly commission elaborate bases of carved giltwood to display the splendid tops. Later circular tops with radiating specimen marble decoration became particularly popular during the Regency period making ideal centre tables with the bases often made of rosewood by such distinguished firms as Gillows and Banting & France.
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