Italian Mid-18th Century Lacca Povera Desk or Bureau


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Object Description

A rare mid-18th century Lacca Povera desk or bureau, profusely decorated with decoupage vignettes on the fall front, the sides and the two drawers. Each panel is enclosed by a running floral design on a dark blue ground. The panels depict orientally dressed figures in exotic settings, romanticized pastoral landscapes, hunting scenes and scenes detailing country pursuits. The whole surface appears to be in original condition. The decoupage retains good color and engraved detail. The other surfaces, such as the top, the front and the legs are decorated with a trellis work white pattern painted on a pale rose colored ground.
The slope front opens to reveal a fitted interior with a leather lined writing surface, pigeon holes, small drawers and a slide for a secret compartment. The whole interior painted red. On tapering cabriole legs.
The bureau is of distinctive and eccentric surface composition, the method of lacca povera combined with the trellis work design can be considered quite a rarity of today.

Object History

The technique of lacca povera was developed as a means of imitating oriental and the true Venetian lacquer and was produced mainly in the Venetian states in the 18th century, although this technique was not uncommon in other regions like Piemont. The best quality prints were actually produced outside of Venice in nearby Bassano by the celebrated firm of Remondini, which was started by the publisher and engraver Giovanni Antonio Remondini (1634-1711). The firm produced sheets of motifs and of scenes with landscapes and figures, which could be cut out, stuck on the piece of furniture and then painted. The prints were finally covered with a varnish known as sandarac.

Object Literature

Comparative literature:
Elisabetta Barbolini Ferrari: Mobili dipinti – Tempera, Lacca et Arte Povera nelle Botteghe Italiane tra XVII e XVIII Secolo, Modena 2004, p. 67-71 (about Remondini), p.144 and p. 179 (comparative items)

Object Condition

Good -In preserved original condition. Only minor losses. The decoupage retains good colour and engraved detail. – Detailed condition report on request

Object Details

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We are open weekly as follows:

12:00 - 18:00
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Dealer Contact


Dealer Location

Jakob F. Mueller Antiquitaeten
Fasanenstrasse 28

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