This rare Italian walnut dining table is from the Late Renaissance, circa 1600. The attention to detail in the hand-carved décor implies that the table was produced by a master craftsman. Walnut wood was the preeminent wood during the Renaissance because of its warm coloration, attractive graining, and properties which are conducive to detailed carving and longevity.
The almost 11-foot-long tabletop is comprised of three beams of walnut. The wood has intense growth patterns with sections having a swirled or rippled appearance to the long planks. The apron is subtly adorned with crenellated arches on all four sides. A shaped, high crossbeam beneath has a protruding noix (“nut”) before gently sloping upwards and slotting into the top of the truss legs.
Carving was the preferred method of embellishing furniture in the Late Renaissance and the legs of this table have an abundance of motifs that add character. Each truss features quarter round molding at the base of the leg. The facings have raised pilasters with three different carvings. Both exterior views display a scrolled coat of arms of an escutcheon emblazoned with an eagle over three bend lozengy. The heraldic elements are situated in between a sprawling flower and an acanthus margent, both with beaded elements. The interior facings feature two distinct floral and foliate margents.
Each of the sides are scrolled at the top and bottom. The bottom scroll is adorned with an acanthus leaf, while the upper scroll is festooned with a grotesque mascaron that was frequently seen in the Late Renaissance. Interestingly, each of the four faces are unique, featuring different facial expressions. The areas in between the scrolls display four separate cartouches.
During the Late Renaissance, tables such as this walnut dining table were often found throughout the Italian peninsula, however, they are exceedingly hard to find today. The quality of carvings, age, patina, and size make this table make it a true standout piece. It can comfortably seat 10-12 adults and would make a fantastic dining room table.
CONDITION: Very good antique condition with wear commensurate to age and use, including minor losses and age separations to the base. The crossbeam has traces of old wood worm and minor rubs. Old repairs and fills to the top, with light build up and age separations. Tops of truss ends have been covered with thin steel plates at some point. Table easily dismantles into 4 pieces. Please see photos for details.