Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.


  • Place of origin:

    Paris (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1805 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Micromosaic, rosewood, gilding

  • Credit Line:

    The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 1, case PL3 []

Arthur Gilbert acquired five items from the estate of Empress Josephine of France. Included amongst them is this wonderful octagonal table designed by Francesco Belloni at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Empress Josephine led the rising interest in the revival of the antique technique of mosaic. She owned at least three tables by Belloni at the time of her death.

Sir Arthur Gilbert and his wife Rosalinde formed one of the world's great decorative art collections, including silver, mosaics, enamelled portrait miniatures and gold boxes. Arthur Gilbert donated his extraordinary collection to Britain in 1996.

Physical description

Octagonal tabletop with a central circular micromosaic depiction of the goddess Hebe en grisaille. She wears a classical robe and is seen in right profile, holding a ewer over her head and carrying a cup in her left hand. The figure is on a black ground bordered by red, blue and yellow dots within a further band holding a green ribbon tied with four gold attributes, the thunderbolt and crown of Jupiter and the caduceus and scales of Mercury. An outer border has alternating lunette and triangular reserves with birds attributes of the gods. The tabletop is supported by a carved and gilt rosewood base with a fluted column on a tripod plinth over three gilt feet.

Place of Origin

Paris (made)


ca. 1805 (made)

Materials and Techniques

Micromosaic, rosewood, gilding


Diameter: 72.5 cm, Height: 60.9 cm

Object history note

Provenance: Empress Josephine, Malmaison. Glemham Hall, Suffolk. Dudley Long North, fifth Baron North, 1910. Mallet and Son, London, 1971.

Descriptive line

Hexagonal topped centre table with Hebe, Francesco Belloni, Paris, 1805.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Sherman, Anthony C. The Gilbert Mosaic Collection. Edited by M. Barbara Scheibel. West Haven, Connecticut: Pendulum Press, 1971, pl. XXIV.
Grandjean, Serge. Inventaire après décès de l'Impératrice Joséphine à Malmaison, [Paris] Ministère d'État-Affaires culturelles, 1964, no. 1501.
Hillier, Bevis. 'The Gilbert Collection of Mosaics'. The Connoisseur, vol. 88, no. 758. London: April 1975, fig. 10.
Avery, Charles, assisted by Arthur Emperatori. Mosaics from the Gilbert Collection: summary catalogue. Exhibition catalogue Victoria & Albert Museum. London: H.M.S.O. 1975, no. 36.
Gonzalez-Palacios, Alvar. The Art of Mosaics: Selections from the Gilbert Collection, Los Angeles (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) 1977. 143 p., ill. Cat. no.33. ISBN 0875870805.
Gonzalez-Palacios, Alvar and Steffi Röttgen with essays by Steffi Röttgen, Claudia Przyborowski; essays and new catalogue material translated by Alla Theodora Hall. The Art of Mosaics: Selections from the Gilbert Collection. Los Angeles (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) 1982. 224 p., ill. Cat. no. 35. ISBN 0875871097
Alfieri, Massimo et al. Mosaici Minuti Romani del 700 e dell'800. Exhibition catalogue, Studio de Mosaico. Roma: Editioni del mosaico, 1986.
Gabriel, Hanisee, Jeanette. 'Mosaic Tables in the Gilbert Collection'. The Antique Collector, May 1993, vol. 64, no. 5 , pp. 78-81.
Gabriel, Jeanette Hanisee with contributions by Anna Maria Massinelli and essays by Judy Rudoe and Massimo Alfieri. Micromosaics: The Gilbert Collection. London: Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd. in association with The Gilbert Collection, 2000. 310 p., ill. Cat. no. 37, p. 92-93. ISBN 0856675113.

Labels and date

Centre table
About 1810

The Empress Josephine used this table top at the Château de Malmaison, which she bought in 1799. She completely redecorated the house in the newest Empire style, creating fashionable interiors that combined the antique with the modern. Buying tables like this, she led the revival of the ancient technique of mosaic in France.

France (Paris)
Table top by Francesco Belloni
Rosewood and gilded rosewood; glass micromosaic
Formerly in the collection of Josephine Bonaparte
The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London


Mosaic glass; Rosewood; Gold


Micromosaic; Forming; Gilding


Metalwork Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.