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Work Table top

Department of Decorative Arts: 19th century

Table

© 1988 RMN / Pierre et Maurice Chuzeville

Decorative Arts
19th century

Author(s):
Barbier Muriel

Decorated with an effigy of King Charles X, this table top is a work made at the mosaics workshop founded in Paris by the Roman Francesco Belloni, which became a royal workshop in 1817. This work to the glory of the king also reveals the interest in antique techniques and motifs under the Restoration.

A royal iconography

A round medallion decorated with a classical-style profile portrait of Charles X with a laurel wreath and treated in grisaille is set in the center. The medallion brings classical cameos to mind. Francesco Belloni had probably made the piece before adding the profile of Charles X when the latter mounted the throne. Olive branches with fruits and natural bunches of lilies are arranged around the medallion; these plants had been associated with royal power since the Ancien Régime. Crosses of the Order of St. Louis surmounted by the royal crown are set out on either side of the medallion.

A variety of hard stones

The table top is made of a slab of yellow Sienna marble inlaid with different types of stone. The round medallion is highlighted by edging in red jasper and two bands of yellow marble. The ground in lapis lazuli is decorated with olive branches and lilies in cornelian. The whole is framed by a border in yellow marble decorated with a ribbon in two tones of lapis lazuli entwined on a branch with cornelian berries and leaves in bloodstone.

Francesco Belloni and mosaic

Trained at the mosaics workshop at the Vatican, Francesco Belloni, who came to France in 1797, desired to revive the art of mosaic in Paris. He first trained pupils in the technique at a school that became the École Impériale de Mosaïque in 1807 and subsequently the Manufacture Royale in 1817. He participated in exhibitions of mosaic industry products, showing tables, guéridon tables, fire screens and scenes composed entirely in mosaic. In this table top adorned with an effigy of Charles X, Belloni combined two types of mosaic: "classical" type mosaic for the olive branches and lilies, and inlay for the whole of the composition on the yellow marble slab. Belloni mastered all mosaic techniques, brining great distinction to the medium.

Bibliography

Un Âge d'or des arts décoratifs : 1814-1848, Paris, Éditions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, 1991, pp. 175-176.

Technical description

  • Francesco BELLONI (Rome 1772 - Paris, 1863)

    Table

    1814 and 1824-28

    Paris

  • Yellow Sienna marble inlaid with lapis lazuli, amethyst, cornelian and jasper

    W. 1.54 m; D. 0.78 m

  • MS 164

  • Decorative Arts

    Richelieu wing
    1st floor
    Claude Ott
    Room 560

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