Pair of Silver Gilt and Mecca Marble-Top Consoles
This fine pair of Italian consoles, likely from a palazzo, made in Napoli in the late 18th century have tops in marble referred to as Pavonazzetto. And these tops appear to have been cut against the grain and retain their slightly noticeable of hand sawing. It should be noted that the tops are bookmatched and quite obviously cut from the same stone. The tops are supported by wooden frames with a slightly notched front apron and decorated with rosettes on the corners, horizontal chevrons, vines of garlands, and raised half circles. The square tapering legs are decorated with vertical chevrons and raised half circles and the decoration is included on all legs. The technique is a tempera paint on plaster with the raised elements gilded in silver and mecca (mecca being a tinted lacquer over silver giving a more golden appearance).
Some additional reading on technique and material:
Tempera, also known as egg tempera, is a permanent, fast-drying painting medium consisting of colored pigments mixed with a water-soluble binder medium, usually glutinous material such as egg yolk.
Pavonazzetto (Marmor Phrygium in Latin) is a fine grained marble with purplish veins and inclusions, which historically was imported to Rome from Docimium (located in central Phrygia in Asia Minor). Due to the quarries of this distinctive marble being hundreds of kilometres from navigable waterways, this stone was extremely expensive in antiquity. Despite this, or perhaps as a result, pavonazzetto was particularly fashionable from the 1st Century A.D. onwards. Although polychrome marble was known in the ancient world from Egypt, the Near East and the Hellenistic kingdoms, its use increased beyond measure with the first Roman emperor, Augustus. The quantities and types of marble were unheard of; used on architecture and sculpture, from grand public buildings to domestic settings. Its use quickly spread throughout the empire and played an important role in reflecting Imperial power-play and supremacy.