Console. Tuscany, second fourth of the XVIII century


Carved and gilded wooden console. It rests on four supports with opposing double curves ending in full-bodied curling volutes held by mascarons; on the upper volutes some carved female caryatids rest in the round. The connection of the legs is made by volutes ending in another female protome, here turned upwards, with a pair of petals and acanthus leaves forming a backdrop. The under-top band is centred by a carved cherub set within architectural volutes. On the sides simple carved volutes; the “lambrecchino” carved motifs decorating the furniture have pendants carved like curtain tassels. Moulded top paved in “Medicean breccia” marble resting on a moulding.

Dimensions: 83,5 x 119 x 55,5 cm (33 x 47 x 22 In)


Historical-stylistic analysis:

This console, which can be traced back to an advanced phase of Tuscan Baroque thanks to the comparison with other examples of probable Florentine production, takes inspiration from Roman Baroque prototypes, sharing with the latter the materiality of part of the volutes, the high meticulousness and quality of the carving, although with a design that is ‘lighter’ and less sumptuous. In particular, the expressions and the materiality of the female heads find fine echoes within Tuscan production with a focus on the city of Florence. For example, the design of the upper part of the uprights and the under-top band is very similar to that found in a Tuscan console of the same period and preserved in the Quirinale, most likely from the group of furnishings that belonged to Umberto II of Savoy (González-Palacios, 1997). Other interesting elements for comparison are the masked feet with volute finials, similar to those on a wall table in a private collection made by Florentine cabinetmakers in the late 17th and early 18th century (González-Palacios, 1986), and the sculptural “lambrequins” (or fringes/pendants) also found within the decorative apparatus of a console table from Lucca in the Palazzo Sardi, dated 1733 and attributed to an anonymous carver from Turin (Colle, 2009). Worthy of note is the staggered position of the rear legs in relation to the front ones, a device adopted to allow a frontal view of the female “protomes” placed in the background. In addition, the type of marble used for the slab of the top, the Medicean breccia, is another indicator of the provenance of our console table, which, in conclusion, fits well into the “period from the death of the last Medici Grand Duke in 1737 to the arrival in Florence of Pietro Leopoldo in 1765, [… ] very little known in the field that concerns us also because the works executed at the time were not many’, as stated by art historian Alvar González-Palacios (González-Palacios, 1997).

Comparison biography

González-Palacios A., I Mobili Italiani. Il patrimonio artistico del Quirinale, Electa, Milano, 1997, p. 179, fig. 55.

González-Palacios A., Il Tempio del Gusto. Le arti decorative in Italia fra classicismi e barocco, La Toscana e l’Italia Settentrionale, Longanesi&C., Milano, 1986, Tomi I-II, p. 29, fig. 9 (Tomo II), fig. VI (Tomo I).

Colle E., Il Mobile Lucchese. Dal Cinquecento all’Ottocento, Maria Pacini Fazzi Editore, Lucca, 2009, p. 134, Tav. XLII.

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