Secrétaire, Bottega Francesco Maggiolini



Secrétaire cabinet composed of drawer under the top, flap door with cabinet and two drawers in the lower part. Veneered in walnut pedulle and inlaid in various woods. The piece of furniture is divided into two parts with a decorative choice which, in the lower part is entrusted to the marked grain of the walnut, while in the upper part the sides and the door are framed by a frame with successive drops, where it is placed, in the center of the door, open to a shelf, a wicker basket containing a bouquet of flowers. A fret with stylized leaves is inlaid in the band below the top, on the uprights two candelabra reserves of bunches of ivy leaves held back by flakes.

The inside cabinet has two rows of three mahogany-veneered drawers with a row of four cherry-wood drawers with bronze knobs in the center, above a document compartment. Several springs allow access to numerous secrets. The double-throw door lock also closes the upper drawer, while the door has counterweights that allow it to stay still open and close automatically by lifting it.

Dimensions: 157,5 x 95 x 46,5 cm ( 62 x 37,4 x 18,3 in )

Historical-stylistic analysis:

The production of the Maggiolini workshop continued even after Giuseppe’s death, conducted until 1834 by his son Carlo Francesco and his adoptive nephew Cherubino Mezzanzanica. The creation of a new type of furniture, allowed the furniture made after the death of the master to remain in vogue for some time and to be still in great demand, by virtue of the high quality of the inlays, often derived from the models used by Giuseppe Maggiolini in period of greatest fortune. The designs used for the inlays remained, in fact, in use at the workshop; they were inherited from their son Carlo Francesco to Cherubino Mezzanzanica; from him they were purchased by the Municipality of Milan in 1882, going to set up the Maggiolini Fund, now kept in the Cabinet of Drawings of the Castello Sforzesco in Milan.

Our secrétaire undoubtedly also belongs to this production, which has all the characteristics of Lombard furniture from the early years of the Restoration. Also in this case the reference drawings used for the realization of the inlay decoration can be traced. The band placed on the drawer under the top, decorated with a continuous motif of stylized leaves, is attributable to the Frieze Study of sheet B 689, while the decoration on the candelabra uprights, with bunches of ivy leaves, must refer to sheet B 605 held back by flakes. In the aforementioned Maggiolini Collection there are various designs of flowers which are then made on the counter and joined in different variants to form different compositions. In this regard, the large carnation is proposed identical on a sheet, the B 168, which bears the double date 1795 and 1800, and is attributed to the hand of Carlo Francesco.

The analysis of the furniture that was evidently carried out when Carlo Francesco was at the helm of the shop, allows us to observe how Maggiolini’s son maintained the quality that has always distinguished the shop. Great care is taken in the construction of the structure, in the internal subdivision of the spaces and in the hardware used.

Reference bibliography:

– Giuseppe Beretti, Laboratorio, ed. In Limine, 2005;

– Giuseppe Beretti, Alvar Gonzàlez Palacios, Giuseppe Maggiolini. Catalogo ragionato dei disegni, ed. Inlimine, 2014.

– Enrico Sala, Maggiolini & Co., ed. Anticonline, 2020.

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