Origin: North Italian Period: Rococo/Baroque Provenance: Unknown Date: c.1780 Height: 31.5” Width: 40.75” Depth: 22.75” (all at extremities)
The beautifully hand-painted kneehole-desk or centre table with five drawers about the knee having later brass knob handles, on tapering square supports, the top, back and sides with all-over decoration to include line decoration and ribbon tied floral swags, with a central urn of fruit to the top, the legs with vines, the whole in a soft saffron ground with green and scarlet highlights, surviving from the last quarter of eighteenth century northern Italy.
In desirable original and untouched condition, the paintwork has a good surface patina and has not been overpainted or restored in any way. The top has a surface crack as photographed with the front section having some discolouration. The escutcheons are lacking to the two lower drawers and the locks are absent, with each drawer gliding comfortably, with two having been relined. The lower right drawer face is a little wonky as it sits in its frame. She is stable on her feet. She proves heavy and the timber is certainly not pine, more likely a hardwood such as cedar. There are some remnants of old wood worm, please again refer to the photographs for a full visual reference.
While the Rococo style was popular in France, 18th-century Italian furniture was in the Empire and Neoclassic styles. The curves of Baroque gave way to less complex and geometric. Paint colors returned to a more neutral palette. While the lines of Italian Empire and Neoclassic styles were plainer and more geometric, ornamentation was larger and inspired by Greek, Roman, and Egyptian styles.
This piece, having decoration to the back, akin somewhat to a partners desk, suggests it was intended to be placed centrally and may well have been used as a reception type desk in a foyer of sorts.