Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.



  • Place of origin:

    Milan (made)

  • Date:

    1951 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Ponti, Gio, born 1891 - died 1979 (designer)
    Fornasetti, Piero, born 1913 - died 1988 (artist)
    I Fratelli Radici (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Fibreboard with applied lithograph transfers

  • Museum number:

    W.21&:2, 3-1983

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

In Italy this type of cabinet was known as a trumó or trumeau. Its origins can be traced back to the 1700s. Piero Fornasetti's unique style of decoration has transformed Gio Ponti's modern version into a striking piece of furniture. The technique used to make it was unusual. Lithographs were created for each section, printed on to transfer sheets, and then applied to fibreboard panels. These were fitted to the cabinet and varnished. Fornasetti's trompe-l'oeil schemes were inspired by 16th century Italian Mannerist art as well as by 20th century Surrealism. (Trompe-l'oeil is a French term meaning 'trick of the eye'.) They were based on his knowledge of printed books and engravings, rather than the observation of real buildings.

Place of Origin

Milan (made)


1951 (made)


Ponti, Gio, born 1891 - died 1979 (designer)
Fornasetti, Piero, born 1913 - died 1988 (artist)
I Fratelli Radici (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Fibreboard with applied lithograph transfers

Historical context note

Exhibited at the 9th Triennale, Milan, 1951.

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

Wilk, Christopher, ed. . Western Furniture 1350 to the Present Day. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1996. 230p., ill. ISBN 085667463X.

Labels and date


Designed by Gio Ponti (Italian 1891-1979)
Decorated by Piero Fornasetti (Italian, 1913-1988)
Screen-printed wood-fibre board (masonite) on laminated and solid wood, varnished

Fornasetti was secretive about his decorative techniques, in an attempt to thwart imitators. He created lithographs of his designs, which were printed onto transfer sheets and then applied to each section of the furniture. Colour was added later, as was a varnish, which has yellowed with age on this example.

W.21-1983 []








Furniture and Woodwork 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.