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image L100

Table top composed of marble specimens with pietre dure panels at the corners, Italian, 17th century

Marble and pietre dure

Height: 2.7cm
Width: 94cm
Depth: 58.4cm

Museum number: L100

Curatorial note

Italian, unknown maker, seventeenth century. With an inlaid pattern of marbles, granite and hard-stones and pietre dure corner panels depicting vases of flowers in the style of the early seventeenth century.1

A receipt from John Lord dated 6 December 1817, ‘Recd of Mr Soane twenty five guineas for a marble inlaid slab’, seems likely to be for this table top.2 It must have been highly prized by Soane who placed it in a position of honour in his first Picture Room at the back of No. 12, built in 1819. It is shown in the 1835 Description, plate IV a view of Soane’s basement Monk’s Parlour dated 10 May 1825, resting on the Walpole desk (XF261). It was moved to the Library/Dining Room at some time between c.1827 and 1829-30.3 In his 1830 Description Soane noted ‘At the north end of the Dining-room, under the window, is a Pedestal Bookcase, surmounted with a Marble Slab, inlaid with specimens of Marble, Granite and Precious Stones: upon this slab is a large Etruscan Vase, purchased at the sale of Lord Cawdor’s effects’.4 The slab is shown beneath the Cawdor vase in the 1835 Description, Plate IV. It is in this position at present.

1 These could be seventeenth century panels which have been incorporated into a later table top but are perhaps more likely to be early-nineteenth-century panels but in an earlier style.
2 Archive 16/12/65.
3 It is shown in the frontispiece to Britton, Union, published 1827 (Figure 66).
4 Description, 1830, p. 19.


J. Soane Description of the Residence of John Soane, Architect, London, 1835, p. 8.

If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: worksofart@soane.org.uk