This Russian gueridon (circular side table) is crafted from beautifully-contrasting green malachite and gold gilt bronze. Created in the 19th Century, the table illustrates the fashion for malachite furniture in Russia at this time. Partly owing to local natural sources of malachite, Russian Tsars used the green gemstone to decorate their palaces. Columns, pilasters, walls, sculptures and objets d’art were veneered or crafted from malachite. The most famous example of this is The Malachite Room at the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, which was built by Alexander Brullov for Empress Alexandra Feodorovna (wife of Tsar Nicholas I) in the 1830s.
This gilt bronze (ormolu) table has been set with a circular, malachite top, which was crafted using a technique called ‘Russian mosaic’. In this method, malachite is cut into millimetre-thick slices, and applied as a veneer.
The malachite top is supported on three vine-like, S-scroll gilt bronze legs, which are decorated with leafy flourishes and malachite medallions. The legs are connected by a solid, gilt bronze stretcher. This is mounted, at its centre, with a malachite flaming urn, which is mirrored above by a gilt bronze pinecone drop-finial.