Large circular top in white marble inlaid with a strip of “sea green” marble and one hundred and forty-one samples of hard stones, separated by black marble shelves, with a circular reserve in Malachite from the Urals delimited by antico rosso marble.
Among the samples:
Marbles: Portor, peach blossom, grand antico, Breccia Medici, Serravezza, Médous, Arzo, African, brocatelle from Spain, Cipolin from Greece, yellow from Siena, rose from Valencia, red from Languedoc, levanto, crimson turquin, turquin blue, Sicilian diasper, lumachelle, Coraline breach ...
Porphyry: Egyptian purple, Greek green, Swedish violet.
Granites: gray, pink, black and gray and black diorite from Aswan
Stones: serpentine, lapis Lazuli, fluorspar, pietra paesina, basalt, red jasper and yellow tiger jasper from Sicily, onyx, sardonyx, moss agate, dentritic agate, cottony alabaster, flowery, ribboned….
Very good state of conservation.
Roman work around 1820, probably from the workshops of the St. Peter's factory in the Vatican.
Dimensions: Diameter: 87.5 cm
Provenance: Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn, 5th baronet (October 25, 1772 - January 6, 1840) then by descent.
Our opinion :
The tray we are presenting was purchased during a so-called Grand Tour trip in the 1820s.
This trip was intended to further education and uplift the interests of the aristocratic youth, just after their studies, then mainly based on the Greek and Latin humanities. The destination was mainly Italy, although trips often started in the south of France and ended in Greece.
It was in good taste to bring back a very beautiful decorative object, to adorn his future home, a bronze or antique monument replica, a collection of intaglio, or as is the case here a hard stone sampling tray.
These trays then returned to the various European countries and were mounted on pedestal tables by the greatest cabinetmakers or bronziers of the time.
Usually they were small platters fifty or sixty centimeters wide, adorned with simple multicolored marbles.
The tray we are presenting is different and completely out of the ordinary due to its large diameter (90 cm) and especially the quality and rarity of the stones used.
Indeed, many stones come from quarries that have been exhausted since antiquities, such as cipolin, red porphyry from Egypt or green from Greece, and therefore come from excavations.
The only workshops capable of bringing together such rare varieties were located in Rome, a city where all the finest varieties of stone from the four corners of the empire converged for several centuries.
Among these workshops, the factory of St Peter located in the Vatican specializes in the production of this type of tray.
Created in the 16th century, this body of the Roman curia is responsible for the management and maintenance of Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome, it is in the 19th century the only workshop to be able to officially buy and use stones from excavations. .
Within the organization, several lapidary and mosaic workshops are working on the restoration of the basilica but also on the design of papal gifts or luxury goods intended for a wealthy clientele who have come to take the grand tour.
It was probably from this workshop that Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn who was one of the largest Welsh landowners acquired our tray.
A very close tray but encrusted with antique glasses was formerly in our collection, it is attributable with certainty to Francesco Sibilio, one of the directors of the factory, who was the only one to use marquetry of antique glasses in his productions.
35 000 €
3 800 €