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  • Materials and Techniques:

    Scagliola, ebony, marble, marquetry of various woods, mother of pearl

  • Credit Line:

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

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

In the wake of the widespread fashion for elaborate wood intarsia, inlaid ivory and pietre dure, scagliola, also called pietra di luna (moon stone) became popular as a way of imitating inlaid stone mosaics.

Marquetry in floral designs using exotic, coloured woods and ivory, a technique brought to perfection in the 17th century, had a revival in the 19th century through Italians such as the Falcini brothers, to whom the base of this table has been attributed. This table was exhibited at the Crystal Palace Exhibition in 1851.

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.
On long-term loan to Los Angeles County Museum from 2010.

Physical description

Tabletop of scagliola with black marble background, the outer border composed of naturalistic decoration of cornucopias with vine leaves and birds. The inner border of entwined plants surrounds a panel, in the centre of which are depicted two goldfinches sitting on the branch of a fruit tree. The stand is veneered with different woods and has a frieze around the perimeter, veneered with a motif similar to that on the frame of the tabletop. Four legs join the upper tabletop to a lower panel which rests on four tortoises of carved wood.

Materials and Techniques

Scagliola, ebony, marble, marquetry of various woods, mother of pearl


Length: 85.1 cm, Width: 133.7 cm, Height: 81.6 cm

Object history note

Provenance: South Audley Art Galleries, London, 1975

Descriptive line

Table on stand; tabletop scagliola, Livorno, F. della Valle, ca. 1850; base, Tuscany att. Falcini, ca. 1825-1850.

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

The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations. Exhibition catalogue Crystal Palace. London 1851, p. 1300.
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. 74. 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. Cat. no. 81.
Massinelli, Anna Maria. Scagliola: L'arte della pietra di Luna., Rome: Editalia 1977, p. 46, pl. 31.
Wilson, Jante. 'Collecting Mosaics. Piece by Piece'. Realities, no. XI (Pennsylvania), May/June 1980, p. 100.
Massinelli, Anna Maria. Il mobile toscano. Milan: Electa 1993, p. 291, pl. 337.
Massinelli, Anna Maria with contributions by Jeanette Hanisee Gabriel. Hardstones: The Gilbert Collection. London: Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd. in association with The Gilbert Collection, 2000. 329 p., ill. Cat. no. 33, pp. 103-105. ISBN 0856675105
Six, Mickey. 'De Gilbert Collection in Londen'. Cachet. Tijdschrift voor kunstliefhebbers. No. XXVII, May 2004, pp. 25-29, ill. p. 29.
Williams, Elizabeth A. The Gilbert Collection at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Los Angeles (Los Angeles County Museum of Art), 2010, fig. 33, pp. 64-65. ISBN 9780875872100


Ebony; Marble; Wood; Mother of pearl; Scagliola


Inlay (process); Marquetry; Inlay (process); Carving

Subjects depicted

Cherry; Wreath; Scrolling foliage; Finch (bird); Ribbon bows; Butterflies; Cornucopia; Flowers; Goldfinch; Vine-leaves; Turtles; Birds




Metalwork Collection

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