The Inlay Depicting Angelique and the Hippogriffe

Late 18th Century







Veneered and richly inlaid with various woods (kingwood and tulipwood, ebony, rosewood, satinwood, and other fruitwoods),

the rectangular retracting top with a central round medallion of a Angelica on a hippogriffe with an orc, (from Ludovico Oriosto's poem,

Orlando Furioso*) within  borders of urns and oak leaves, the corners with quarter-rounds of further oak leaves, above an antique

leather-covered slide, also retracting to reveal a well, fitted with 5 small drawers, the frieze with panels of hounds and boars within a

landscape, between panels of eagles with  swags and balances (front and back), and a satyr watering a goose at a basin (sides); the corners

with upright oak leaves; all set on  four tapering veneered; legs headed by inlaid beribboned vines, and ending in inlaid cuffed feet.


Condition: Very good, with expected veneer and inlay cracks; a few replaced pieces of inlay; good color;

normal roll to the pine substrate; slight bow to the back left leg


*This table relates to the story of Angelica (or Angelique) on a hippogriffe, escaping from an "orc", penned in Ludovico Oriosto's 1532 epic poem

"Orlando Furioso" The recurrent theme is the trails and insanity of love, the hippogriffe itself symbolizing the "impossibility of love" :

The very beautiful Angelica - daughter of the King of Cathay - when introduced into Charlemagne's court, was sought by many knights.  However her brother would allow her to marry only a knight who could best him in battle.  Two cousins, Orlando and Rinaldo, fell desperately in love with her, but lost the battles. Angelica and Rinaldo then drank from a magic fountain, leaving one madly in love,

and the other indifferent -- while Orlando lost his wits to passion.


In Oriosto's poem, Angelica was left by pirates, naked and chained to a rock on the Isle of Tears, waiting to be sacrificed to

the "orc (a sea monster).  She was rescued by the African knight Ruggiero, riding on the back of a hippogriffe

(a mythical winged horse with the talons and beak of an eagle).

"Canto X" relates the rescue : 


The hippogriffe, responding to the spur,

Braces its hoof and rises in the air, 

Away Ruggiero pillion carries her,

Depriving thus the monster of its fare. 

It was, indeed, no fitting connoisseur

For this bonne bouche, so delicate and rare. 

He looks behind and thinks he can surmise

A thousand kisses promised in her eyes.

                                                               Ludovico Ariosto, "Orlando Furioso", Canto X ,Verse 112

                                              19th Century French Translation, M. A. Mazuy


Ruggiero gave Angelica a ring of invisibility, which she used to vanish from the ever-persistent Orlando. 

Angelica eventually fell in love with the African prince Medoro, and eloped with him to Cathay. 

Orlando was left lovesick, completely mad, and in need of assistance to recover. 


Orlando Furioso is essentially the re-writing of the Greek myth of Perseus, on the wings of Pegasus, rescuing Andromeda,

chained to a rock for her proud mother's boasting.  Angelica's story has been interpreted  in art many times :


in oil by the French painter Ingres ("Ruggiero Rescuing Angelica" - Louvre, Paris - below left)

 in bronze by Antoine-Luois Bayrye ("Angelica and Rogero Mounted on the Hippogryph" -

20 models, housed in the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, the Los Angeles County Museum, Corcoran,

and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in American,

and the Louvre and Musee d'Orsay in Paris - below right).


 ...and intricately inlaid in exotic and  fruit woods in this writing table.



32"H x 36"W x 25"D






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Northern Italian Neoclassical Marquetry Writing Table in Fruitwood and Exotic Woods, Late 18th Century, The Inlay Depicting Angelique and the Hippogriffe  


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