An exceptional early 19th century Italian walnut library


An outstanding complete walnut, carved giltwood and gilt bronze mounted library.
Comprising of three sides with alphabetised open bookshelves above panelled doors, together with three panelled doors, surmounted by oval panels enclosing giltwood medallions with portrait busts of High Renaissance masters: Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael flanked by scrolling acanthus leaves and anthemions.


1 in stock

SKU: A6043 Category: Tags: ,

A real masterpiece

The bookcase, built entirely of walnut wood embellished with carved and gilded wood applications, was part of the furnishings of a room in one of the historic buildings of Pavia.

The piece of furniture was therefore made by workers active between the latter city and Milan around the 1830s when the sober shapes typical of the Empire style were enriched with ornaments taken from sixteenth-century sculptural examples. In fact an example of this is the decorations placed above the three doors of the library where medallions with the portraits of Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael were inserted between neoclassical scrolls, modelled on the taste of the late fifteenth-century busts of the sacristy of the church of Santa Maria at San Satiro in Milan.

An outstanding complete walnut, carved giltwood and gilt bronze mounted library
Medallions with portrait busts of High Renaissance masters
Italian walnut mounted library

This type of ornament seems to have been taken up by the anonymous craftsman who created the furniture from the engravings for decorations and furniture printed in 1838 by Domenico Moglia: similar heads appear in fact inserted between the scrolls of acanthus leaves in a project for some copper reliefs engraved on plate 42 of the volume Collections of ornamental subjects and in the pediment of the window of the Mojana watchmaker’s shop, also published in the aforementioned repertory.
Similar decorative motifs were also used in the carvings of the organ of the church of Sant’Alessandro in Milan and in those designed by the architect Aluisetti for the choirs of the church of San Simpliciano.
The names of the possible executors of this library are therefore to be found among those of the Milanese cabinet makers and cutters active in recent years.
In Milan, at the exhibition of industrial products of the Lombard Veneto Kingdom held in Brera in 1824, the Lodi carver Antonio Perazzoli was mentioned with honours, while recent archival investigations have brought to light the names of Zuccoli father and son, two famous carvers Milanese who had worked on the construction of the monumental Eucharistic throne commissioned in 1822 to the painter Pirovani by the priest Antonio Treviso for the church of San Francesco in Pavia.

  • Description by Enrico Colle

Enrico Colle is one of the leading Italian experts in the field of decorative arts. After having held the position of lecturer in History of Decorative Arts at the University of Bologna, he is now the director of the Stibbert Museum in Florence.

The central section: 600 cm (236 in). The two sides: 500 cm (196.5 in). Height: 260cm (102 in).

Dimensions 600 × 500 × 260 cm



19th Century

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