Origin: Italian Period: Late-Nineteenth Century Provenance: Unknown Date: c.1880 Height: 33 inches Top Diameter: 21 inches (all at extremities)
The unusual and well carved and painted Italian softwood jardinière stand, modelled as a campagna top set with a Japanese Imari charger, raised on a turned and carved column of three carytids with tripod C-scroll supports survives from the last quarter of the nineteenth century.
This piece has a life history and anyone after something without character or imperfection should steer clear here. The overall condition of the piece is tired, in tact and charming but with faults. The painted decoration shows wear which is appealing and the ornamentation is softly worn, commensurate with its age and use. The charger has multiple cracks running through it but it is stable – it could be removed to reveal a larger basin. The paint is beautifully worn and chipped in places there is evidence of an earlier layer of paint to the piece underneath the ivory top coat. The piece stands well enough, though there is some movement to the joints. It is perfectly useable. Fruit or business cards would work. Even a shallow water based display.
Although the carving of the caryatids is typical of Italian workmanship we cannot find any other pieces like this set with a charger, especially not a Japanese one. The coupling of the two cultures is intriguing and it may suggest some kind of matrimony piece – usually reserved for the role of the cassone in Italy.
An unusual and attractive marriage of Italian and Japanese design, which could be employed in a number of different uses.