Bookcase, Giuseppe Speluzzi, Milan, last quarter of the 19th century

Milan, last quarter of the 19th century


Two-piece cabinet, in the base two doors with locks in the central upright and two drawers, in the upper part two glass doors with wrought iron grating that we find in the sides of the riser; on the uprights of turned columns.

The piece of furniture, veneered in mahogany, started from numerous reserves with mahogany molded frames that contain panels with floral decorations painted in gold or real floral decorations on a gold background, up to the two central paintings on the two doors, two strokes putti with classic motifs bearing two coats of arms where the two intertwined initials, “EM”, are arranged. On the turned columns a refined inlay. The interiors are in blond maple. The wrought iron grates, again with a Neo-Renaissance motif, are finished in green and gold paint. Refined gilded bronzes make up the vents and pendants in the shape of a dolphin. The shelves are adjustable in height thanks to a rack. Inside is the nameplate of the “Giuseppe Speluzzi Milano” manufacture.

Dimensions: 237 x 179 x 57,5 cm ( 93,3 x 70,4 x 22,6 in )

Historical-stylistic analysis:

The bookcase belongs to the production of Giuseppe Speluzzi, as shown on the manufacturer’s plate inside one of the two drawers. It is one of the most important craftsmen of the nineteenth century. Known above all for the works in the palace of Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli, now a house-museum, his works were also requested by both bourgeois and aristocratic clients.

The client must be those E. M., whose initials appear on the doors of the lower body, inscribed in coats of arms on a double white and blue field, supported by two putti. The realization by the renowned Milanese workshop is attested by the brand of the same, bearing the symbol of the Milanese city in the center, placed on the inside of the cabinet, behind one of the drawers.

The furniture in question is clearly an expression of the late nineteenth-century taste, characterized by a revival of the styles of the past. In particular, this library is of Neo-Renaissance style which, together with the Neo-Gothic, was among the most popular and requested. The piece of furniture is in fact decorated with painted phytomorphic motifs derived from the grotesques, which spread between the end of the fourteenth century and the beginning of the following one, as well as the prototype itself as a model for the wrought iron gratings.

For more information on Speluzzi, see the article (link)

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