A pair of Italian mid 18th century giltwood 'portego' sofas of Roman origin (2)

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Lot 22TP
A pair of Italian mid 18th century giltwood 'portego' sofas
of Roman origin

Sold for £ 16,250 (US$ 20,528) inc. premium
A pair of Italian mid 18th century giltwood 'portego' sofas
of Roman origin
Each with a shaped back, the toprail carved with flowers, scrolled acanthus and two projecting classical end masks centred by a Flora mask surmounted with an acanthus spray cresting, with foliate wrapped, volute scroll and Green Man mask carved arm supports, above a pierced rocaille, floral and acanthus apron, on four winged harpie caryatid carved scrolled legs and two central scrolled legs, the front leg carved with a grotescho mask, each sofa approximately: 301cm wide. (2)

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Important French and Continental Furniture, Sotheby's, London, 13 December 1991, lot 82.
    The National Galleries of Scotland.

    The sculptural quality and strong scrolled emphasis of the carving on the offered pair of sofas suggest they are of Roman origin. Added to this, the various carved classical and grotteschi masks are recurrent elements on a great deal of furniture produced by Roman cabinet makers during the 18th century. While the caryatids carved to the front end legs, as well as the interspersed masks, together establish an appearance reminiscent of the Baroque. This is perhaps also indicative of a typical Roman interpretation of the Rococo, the fashionable style already burgeoning across Europe in the mid 18th century, when the offered lot was most likely executed.

    Due to the impressive proportions of these sofas, one can assume that they were originally made for a Palazzo and most likely for a large space such as a Portego, which in the 18th century tended to be a grandiose reception room or significant entrance hall with long walls. A console table in the collection of the Marchese Giovanni Battista Sacchetti shares similar characteristics in common with the present lot. This table appears in G. Lizzani, Il Mobile Romano, fig. 106.
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A pair of Italian mid 18th century giltwood 'portego' sofas of Roman origin (2)
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