Toilette. Boutique of Giuseppe Maggiolini, 1798-1804 ca.


Four truncated pyramid legs with turned collar support a centre cabinet with three drawers on the front and opening top. Veneered in Bois de violette with Bois de rose edging and maple threading. The top is divided by four triangular handkerchief-shaped decorations inlaid with a leaf motif and a large hexagonal reserve with an inlaid rosette in the centre. The back and sides are also decorated with scores defined by borders and leaf rosettes in the centre. The interior is made of walnut and fir wood and features removable compartments.

Dimensions: 78 x 90 x 54 cm.


Historical-critical analysis:

During the government of Franz Karl of Austria, Milan was quivering with renewal and Giuseppe Maggiolini was responsible for the woodwork for the archducal palaces, Milan and Monza. In the same years he was sought after by the aristocracy not only in the city, who demanded furniture of great wealth, for which great architects and painters provided documentsand designs. With the expulsion of the archduke all this ferment comes to a halt. The workshop experienced a moment of crisis, which is also documented in some of Maggiolini’s own letters. These are years in which designs are simplified, the complexity of inlay is reduced and old designs are often reused; sometimes precious exotic woods are replaced by local materials. There was a partial resumption of work with the arrival of the Napoleonic reign, but at that point, as a matter of taste, the furniture was simplified in the quantity and in the distribution of inlay.

This furniture is in our opinion to be placed in this transitional period. Very similar in form to a vanity table published by Giuseppe Beretti (table XXVII), it features inlaid rosettes that were quite common and used in the workshop. They are reflected in the drawings kept in the Maggiolini Collection in the Gabinetto dei Disegni (Drawings Cabinet) of Castello Sforzesco; in particular drawing FM A 466, used for the rose window on the sides and drawing FM B 820 used for the top.


Giuseppe Beretti, Giuseppe e Carlo Francesco Maggiolini, l’Officina del Neoclassicismo, ed. Malavasi 1994. 
Giuseppe Beretti-Alvar Gonzalez Palacios, Giuseppe Maggiolini Catalogo ragionato dei disegni, ed. inlimine 2014

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