partially gilded, feet in the shape of sphinxes, the band decorated with polychrome hieroglyphics in relief, the top in scagliola in imitation porphyry.
Egyptomania conquered Europe in the wake of Napoleon's military campaign along the Nile in 1798. But preceding this is the interest in Mediterranean civilisations by 18th-century collectors and dealers. One of these, Cardinal Alessandro Albani (1692-1779), was among the first connoisseurs to study and understand the significance of Egyptian art.
Famous is the Egyptian-decorated salon in his villa, filled with both Roman and Egyptian classical works, which probably influenced Giovan Battista Piranesi, who designed a series of Egyptian-style fireplaces at the same time and enriched his engravings with ornaments in this style arranged in an imaginative manner.
Italian and non-Italian 'designers' then began to design furniture in the Egyptian style. The Magnani-Rocca Foundation in Parma has a large wall table, made in Rome and dated around 1770, with a hieroglyphic decoration similar to that of our table.
Our table is from a later period, the 19th century. The structure under the lacquer is very heavy and made of solid walnut, suggesting that it was originally designed to support a porphyry or granite slab.