NEW YORK (March 3, 2009) Carlton Hobbs, the pre-eminent international antiques dealer, announced today that he will mount a special exhibition called “ON TOPS: Table Tops from the 2nd Century AD to the 19th Century,” which opens at his gallery, located at 60 East 93rd Street, (between Madison and Park Avenues), on Wednesday, May 13-22, 2009.
“This exhibition focuses on a collection of twenty extraordinary tops dating from the 2nd century AD to the 19th century,” said Carlton Hobbs. “It includes examples of museum quality tops made of silver, fossilized wood, pietra dura, Roman mosaic and porcelain.”
Particularly precious tops often predated table bases and were works of art in their own right, some man-made, and some of rare naturally occurring fossilized materials.
“We decided to stage this exhibition because our current inventory includes a very interesting cross-section and variety of table tops, which were made as symbols of wealth and status to enhance elaborate interiors and testify to an owner’s prosperity, taste and erudition.”
According to Hobbs, the production of panels and table tops using semi-precious stone began in 16th century Renaissance Italy and was formalized by the foundation in 1588 of ducal-workshops, the Galleria dei Lavoria (later the Opificio delle Pietre Dure) by Ferdinand I de’ Medici.
Carlton Hobbs’ exhibition will focus on the rare materials, inventiveness of design, and exceptional skill and that were invested in the production of these precious surfaces. One example is a pair of tops of Late Renaissance Spanish Silver, from the same small group of silver tops as one in the Victoria and Albert Museum. A pietra dura piece to be exhibited shares ornamental attributes with a group of Italian tables that include the famous Farnese Table in the Metropolitan Museum.
“While some tops display the extraordinary skills of craftsmen, such as the intricate scagliola panels we will display, other examples employ unembellished natural elements for its design. For example, there is a rare septarian nodule, which is a round mineral accretion filled with natural crystals, that looks like radical modern art,” Hobbs explained.
Additional highlights of the exhibition include: a 19th century table incorporating a large fragment taken from a 2nd century AD mosaic Roman floor and a pair of tops made of volcanic rock possibly by Giuseppe Canart and inspired by the geometric patterns of floors found in Herculaneum and Pompeii. Also on view are scagliola tops, including an extremely fine example signed by della Valle, and a most extraordinary 17th century mosaic top, in imitation of Egyptian alabaster, the only known example of its kind.
“We look forward to this special event and hope it will bring our clients pleasure as much as satisfy their academic interest,” Hobbs said.
About Carlton Hobbs LLC
Carlton Hobbs is a noted independent dealer in rare antique furniture and historic objects. Founded in 1973 and headquartered in New York, the firm acquires researches and sells antiques to museums and discerning clients throughout the world.
Some of the world’s leading museums and private collections now house Carlton Hobbs’ pieces including: The Musée du Louvre, The John Paul Getty Museum, The Rijksmuseum, The National Gallery of Australia, The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, The Musée des Beaux Arts, Dijon, The Bowes Museum, Paxton House, and The National Gallery of Greece.
Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 11 AM to 5 PM.
For more information visit www.carltonhobbs.com or phone 212-423-9000.
For further questions please contact:
Marilyn White Public Relations