Writing desk, Marco Calestrini, Florence, last quarter of the 18th century

Florence, last quarter of the 18th century


Rectangular writing desk supported by four truncated pyramidal legs ending with a turned top foot and presenting an architectural bottleneck before joining the bands; under the top a drawer is hidden in a band. The table is veneered in rosewood with maple reserves inlaid with cherry, stained maple, chestnut. On the legs and on the edges of the top are inlaid motifs that simulate, thanks to the light and dark of the woods, gouge carvings. In the reserves on the edges of the top and the bands, a motif of ivy shoots held in place by the mustache of a central mask is inlaid. Small vase-shaped candelabra are inlaid in the reserves on the edges; the large central reserve of the top is veneered in quadripartite rosewood.

Dimensions: 75 x 97 x 72 cm ( 29,5 x 38,2 x 24,3 in )

Historical-critical analysis:

The production of simple or mechanical desks like this one in Florence is well documented by Simone Chiarugi and Enrico Colle in their studies. In this case, the characteristic inlay work allows us to trace the furniture back to the production of Marco Calestrini (1763-1811?). To confirm, look at the chest of drawers published by Enrico Colle which was auctioned at Sotheby’s in Milan in May 1998. The small candelabra under the top are identical to that of the described desk, albeit contrasted as a color, where the light woods are inverted with the dark ones.


โ€“ Enrico Colle, Il mobile neoclassico in Italia, ed. Electa 2005

โ€“ Simone Chiarugi, Botteghe di Mobilieri in toscana, ed. S.P.E.S. 1994

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