Around the same time the luxury furniture is the stipo, a tall architected cabinet in several registers abundantly adorned with columns, caryatids and figures. The walls are inlaid with stones and the numerous small statues are made in gilded bronze. An early Roman example is linked to Pope Sixtus V who died in 1590.
Paul V Borghese became Pope in 1601. He was a great builder who notably financed the completion of the facade of St Peter's Basilica and the Pauline Chapel at St. Mary Major. Style similarities with the stipi are obvious as the furniture is designed like a smaller version of a monument.
Romans and Florentines compete to attract to their workshops the most beautiful stones collected by the travelers. The top of the Grimani table, 150 x 112 x 6 cm, is made in Florence around that time. This piece of furniture was sold for £ 3.5M including premium by Sotheby's on December 10, 2015.
On September 20 in Paris, Sotheby's in association with Leclère sells as lot 56 a Roman cabinet made around 1620 bearing the coat of arms of Paul V. This piece of furniture 178 cm high culminates with the standing figure of a Roman emperor, certainly Tiberius, reminding that the Tuscan born Borghese were fearing to be considered as foreigners by the Roman aristocracy.
It is one of very few examples of stipi whose inlays use only pietre dure without any marble, constituting some peak in terms of technical achievement, cost and luxury. It has been mounted on a console between its release from the Borghese collections in 1821 and its incoming in 1827 into the British Royal collections where it remained until 1959.
The Borghese were great users of such stipi adorned with pietre dure. A pair made around the same time as the papal cabinet was sold for £ 1,27M including premium by Sotheby's on July 8, 2015.
SOLD for € 2.5M including premium