Pietra Paesina Specimen Table Attributed to Gillows

  • This regal 19th-century center table features a grand specimen of Pietra Paesina stone
  • Gillows of Lancaster and London is likely to have crafted the rosewood table
  • Pietra Paesina is one of the rarest and stunning marbles on Earth
  • To find such a large specimen incorporated into a Gillows creation is exceptional
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 30-8715

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Pietra Paesina is one of the most scarce and wondrous stones on Earth, and the surface of this exceptional early 19th-century center table is inset with one of the rarest and most monumental examples of the natural wonder known to exist. The stone is set into a majestic rosewood base attributed to the renowned firm of Gillows of Lancaster and London, the favorite furniture makers of nobility and royalty throughout England. From the unique patterning of the precious Pietra Paesina to the magnificent carved central column and lion’s paw feet, this table evokes a sense of luxury and privilege.

Pietra Paesina, also known as “ruin marble” and “landscape marble,” hails primarily from the Northern Apennine mountains near Florence, Italy. The stone is believed to have formed approximately 40 to 50 million years ago under infrequent and precise geological conditions whereby limestone deposits deep within the Earth became fractured by the movement of tectonic plates. These fractures were then filled over time with iron and manganese hydroxide deposits from groundwater that were later sealed by the deposition of calcite crystals. When cut, these mineral deposits within the stone formed landscape-like images that appear to resemble ancient ruins or mountainous terrains.  

This marvelous stone was discovered sometime in the 16th century and immediately became desired by royalty and wealthy connoisseurs around the world, with the first being the royal Medici of Renaissance Italy. This prestigious family had Florentine artisans craft from this stone furniture and interior ornaments to adorn their palaces. Finding large specimens of Pietra Paesina as displayed in this center table is nearly impossible since most known examples are small enough to fit in your hand. The stone must be cut in order to see if the desired patterning is present, which is not guaranteed. If a pattern is present, by the time it is cut and polished, very little of the stone remains, making the top of this table a true marvel of the natural world.  

Furnishings by Gillows are held in the highest regard, and the opportunity to acquire a one-of-a-kind masterpiece by this esteemed company is indeed a rarity. Hardstone pieces such as this were popular among the British aristocracy during the 19th century, as they displayed the wealth and worldly knowledge of those that owned them. Such hardstones were often acquired by those participating in their Grand Tour of Europe. They would be brought back to England and incorporated into some of the finest furnishings of the period, so there is little wonder why Gillows would have been commissioned for such an important work. 

 Founded in 1730 by Robert Gillow, the Gillows firm operated successfully as a family-owned business well into the 19th century. Originally operating from Lancaster, England, Gillows was especially noted for their quality of workmanship and innovative designs. No other firm in the country had managed to gain as far-reaching and prestigious a level of patronage as that of the Gillows firm, primarily due to the quality and classic nature of their furnishings. The Gillows firm was especially popular with the English nobility and with powerful religious figures throughout the country. Clients included the Earls of Wilton, the Duke of Norfolk, the Earl of Surrey and the Archbishop of York.

Made by one of the most famed furniture makers of the 19th century with one of the rarest stones in the world, this center table is a masterpiece of furniture making worthy of a museum. 

Circa 1820

Hailing from an important English titled estate where it has been since it was commissioned.

36" diameter x 29" high
Pietra Paesina Specimen Table Attributed to Gillows
Maker: Gillows
Period: 19th Century
Origin: England
Type: Occasional Tables/Étagères
Depth: 36.0 Inches
Width: 36.0 Inches
Height: 29.0 Inches
Style: Regency

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