A Maltese pietra dura table top attributed to Joseph Darmanin & Sons, the circular top intricately inlaid with a central scene depicting a saddled chestnut horse tethered to a date palm tree, within concentric bands of grey and Nero Portoro marble and a broad floral border of flowers and butterflies in specimen marbles inlaid onto a white ground, raised on a vintage chrome eight legged table. Top Maltese, circa 1880, base English, circa 1950.
Footnote: From 16th century Malta there was a strong tradition of work in marble mosaics, especially in the elaborate tombstones of the Knights Hospitallers of St John. Under British rule from 1800, the workshops began making marble table tops for British visitors similar to those sought by the original Grand Tourists in Italy. J. Darmanin and Sons were the best-known marble-working firm and traded from the 1800s to the 1880s. They exhibited at several international exhibitions including the Great Exhibition in London in 1851. A superb table by J Darmanin with a very similar horse and palm tree decoration can be found in ‘The Royal Collection’. Other examples include the pair of ‘Londonderry’ pietra dura table tops stamped J Darmanin which also feature the horse and palm tree motif.