Veneered and richly inlaid with various woods (kingwood and tulipwood, ebony,
rosewood, satinwood, and other fruitwoods),
the rectangular retracting top with a central round medallion of a
Angelica on a hippogriffe with an orc, (from Ludovico
Orlando Furioso*) within borders of urns and oak leaves, the corners with quarter-rounds of further oak leaves, above an
leather-covered slide, also retracting to reveal a
well, fitted with 5 small drawers, the frieze with panels of hounds and boars within a
landscape, between panels of eagles with swags and balances (front and back), and a satyr watering a goose at a basin (sides); the corners
with upright oak leaves; all set on four tapering veneered; legs headed by inlaid beribboned vines, and ending in inlaid cuffed feet.
Condition: Very good,
with expected veneer and inlay cracks; a few replaced pieces of inlay; good
roll to the pine substrate; slight bow to the back left leg
*This table relates to the story of Angelica (or Angelique) on a hippogriffe,
escaping from an "orc", penned in Ludovico Oriosto's
1532 epic poem
"Orlando Furioso". The recurrent theme is the trails and insanity of love,
the hippogriffe itself symbolizing the "impossibility of love" :
The very beautiful
Angelica - daughter of the King of Cathay - when introduced into
Charlemagne's court, was sought by many knights. However her brother
would allow her to marry only a knight who could best him in battle.
Two cousins, Orlando and Rinaldo, fell desperately in love with her, but lost the battles. Angelica and Rinaldo
then drank from a magic fountain, leaving one madly in love,
and the other
indifferent -- while Orlando lost his wits to passion.
In Oriosto's poem, Angelica was
left by pirates, naked and chained to a rock on the Isle
of Tears, waiting to be sacrificed to
the "orc (a sea monster). She was rescued by the African knight Ruggiero,
riding on the back of a hippogriffe
(a mythical winged horse with the talons
and beak of an eagle).
"Canto X" relates the rescue :
The hippogriffe, responding
to the spur,
Braces its hoof and rises in
Away Ruggiero pillion carries
Depriving thus the monster of
It was, indeed, no fitting
For this bonne bouche, so
delicate and rare.
He looks behind and thinks he
A thousand kisses promised in
Ludovico Ariosto, "Orlando Furioso", Canto X ,Verse 112
19th Century French Translation, M. A. Mazuy
Ruggiero gave Angelica a ring of invisibility, which she used to vanish from the
Angelica eventually fell in love with the African prince Medoro,
and eloped with him to Cathay.
Orlando was left lovesick,
completely mad, and in
need of assistance to recover.
Orlando Furioso is essentially the re-writing of the Greek
myth of Perseus,
on the wings of Pegasus, rescuing Andromeda,
chained to a rock for her proud
mother's boasting. Angelica's story has been interpreted in art many times :
in oil by the French painter Ingres ("Ruggiero
Rescuing Angelica" - Louvre, Paris - below left)
in bronze by Antoine-Luois Bayrye ("Angelica
and Rogero Mounted on the Hippogryph" -
20 models, housed in the Walters Art Gallery,
Baltimore, the Los Angeles County Museum, Corcoran,
and the Metropolitan
Museum of Art, in American,
and the Louvre and Musee d'Orsay in Paris - below right).
...and intricately inlaid in exotic and fruit woods
in this writing table.