13th Sep, 2022 10:00

Fine Interiors - Two Day Sale

Lot 106


A set of nine pietra dura panels

A set of nine pietra dura panels,
mid-17th century, Florentine, in the manner of Baccio del Bianco for the Grand Ducal workshops, comprising eight rectangular examples, each depicting two or more animals,
together with a demilune panel depicting a recumbent lion,
rectangular panels 19 x 35cm
the lunette 16 x 27cm, each in a gilt and silvered gesso frame (9)

Provenance: The Estate of Sir Jack and Lady Baer.

Literature: For similar panels illustrating the tradition of depicting animals in 17th century Florentine pietra dura, including those depicted in a tabletop including panels in the style of Baccio del Bianco, see Anna Maria Giusti, 'Pietre Dure: Hardstone in Furniture and Decorations', London 1992, p.83, fig. 26, p.218, fig.76.

The art of inlaying hardstones for decorative use was used throughout many courts of Europe from the mid-sixteenth century, but it was at the Medici Court in Florence that it reached its apogee, particularly under the patronage of Cosimo I (r. 1569-74), his son Francesco (r. 1574-87), and Cosimo's brother Ferdinand I (r. 1587-1609), who formally established the Grand Ducal workshop, the Galleria dei Lavori, in 1588.

A group of panels depicting animals inset into a tabletop alongside a series of examples depicting grotesque figures, which are closely related to del Bianco's designs, is housed at the Chateau de Versailles and illustrated in Giusti's 'Pietra Dure: Hardstone in Furniture and Decorations', p.83. Giusti comments that depictions of animals in pietra dura at the time were simple, but in energetic and spirited poses, making use of soft stones in very similar palettes to the present examples.In many of the panels offered, pale blue agate and translucent alabaster have been used to form the sky peppered with beautiful soft clouds.

Take advantage of our Sworders Delivery Service. Please see 'Shipping estimate' below.

Sold for £130,000

Condition Report

Please see additional photos for reference to condition using this link: https://share.icloud.com/photos/0e6HAyzMpkOfT1qAw-Kvzf78Q

The tacks holding the panels in place within the frames are in very tightly, therefore only one example has been examined out of the frame. Overall the panels appear in good stable condition, with some small losses, fine cracks and light surface wear. Some knocks, losses and distress to the frames. Ready to hang.

Lion: Examined within frame. Some small surface cracks to the limestone border, with several tiny and very fine splits to the thin black border. Some small fissures and natural imperfections. Very light surface wear commensurate with age and handling.

Moose and deer: Examined within frame. Some small surface cracks to the borders and centre of the image. Some tiny fissures and natural imperfections. One or two small scratches and other light surface wear commensurate with age and handling.

Camels: Examined within frame. Some surface dirt. The left, right and bottom edge of the limestone border has a slightly rougher texture than that of the top edge, which appears to be natural. Some tiny natural inclusions and imperfections. Light surface wear.

Horse and lion: Examined out of frame; measures 19.4 x 35.6cm. 3.8cm area of loss to bottom left corner. Approx.1cm area of loss to top right corner. Approx. 0.8cm loss to top edge. A tiny area of loss to the left black border. Dirt and discolouration to edges where they have been beneath the frame. Some cracks to edges and centre of image. Some tiny inclusions and natural imperfections. Surface wear and scratches commensurate with age and handling.

Bear and leopard: Examined within frame. Some surface dirt and discolouration. A small chip visible beneath the frame to the top edge. Small cracks to borders and image. A tiny chip to the top left corner where the image meets the thin black border. Small surface scratches and wear commensurate with age and handling. Some natural inclusions and imperfections.

Dogs hunting the stag: Examined within the frame. Some dirt and discolouration. Some cracks to borders and image. Some surface wear and scratches commensurate with age and handling. Some inclusions and imperfections.

Goat and stag: Examined within frame. Dirt and discolouration. Small cracks to borders and image. Surface wear and scratches commensurate with age and handling. Minute chip to the eye of the stag. Some tiny inclusions and natural imperfections.

Boar hunt: Examined within frame. Dirt and some discolouration. Cracks to borders and image, with some parts of the limestone border which appear to be replaced, however this may have been done at the time of the panel's manufacture. General surface wear and scratches commensurate with age and handling. Some tiny possible losses or imperfections in the stone. Some small inclusions.

Bull hunt: Examined within the frame. Dirt and discolouration. Some cracks to borders and image. Two areas of the limestone border differ in colour and appearance, which indicates that they may be replaced, however this may have been done at the time of manufacture. One tiny area of the black border appears replaced. Some light surface wear and scratches commensurate with age and handling. One or two tiny old losses or imperfections in the stone.



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Auction: Fine Interiors - Two Day Sale, 13th Sep, 2022

Sworders’ quarterly curated Fine Interiors sales offer stylish period and modern furnishings, decorative antiques, and important works of art, fusing traditional British and Continental antiques with eclectic works of art from Europe and further afield. With a focus on quality, rarity and style, they appeal to the discerning modern buyer whose taste and appreciation stretch far beyond the high street.



Viewing will be held at our Stansted Auction Rooms, Cambridge Road, Stansted Mountfitchet CM24 8GE, as follows:

Fri 9 September, 10am - 5pm 

Sat 10 September, 10am - 2pm 

Sun 11 September, 10am - 2pm 

Mon 12 September, 10am - 5pm 

All lots are, however, extensively illustrated and carry detailed condition reports - see 'Condition report' at the foot of each lot description. 

View all lots in this sale

Please note that this item is not suitable for a pre-sale automated shipping estimate due to the items weight/size. 

The below table shows indicative shipping costs for larger items being delivered within the UK mainland. Please note that all the below costs are purely for indicative purposes and are to be used as a guideline only. If you purchase multiple large items, we will combine deliveries to reduce the shipping costs. 

Should you be successful in buying this item, a specific shipping estimate will need to be requested after the sale using the link in your invoice email; this also includes all requests for international delivery.

If you would like further information about shipping and collection please see here.


Buying a pre-loved, antique, or vintage item not only provides you with unique style and value for money but it also helps to reduce landfill, and the annual emissions of an antique or vintage piece can be as little as one sixteenth of those of its new equivalent!

Sworders is proud to be supporting the work of Antiques are Green - the movement that was founded in 2009 to promote “a greener future created from the past”. Read their fascinating carbon footprint study of a Georgian chest of drawers versus a modern equivalent here


Antiques are Green


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