The basis of this dramatic circular table-top is a large slab of
white Carrara marble, inlaid with black Belgian marble and a variety
of coloured stones in a geometric pattern. These include imperial
porphyry, granites, serpentines, alabasters, and semi-precious stones
and well as marbles. Some are re-used fragments from ancient Roman
architecture. A 3-dimensional effect is achieved through the use
of diamond-shaped stones which run around the outer ring of the
table-top. In the centre is a micro-mosaic depicting Plinys
Doves, a popular representation of a still-life found in Hadrians
Villa just outside Rome. A virtuoso piece, notice the tiny stone
pieces that make up the feathers of the doves, the reflection of
one of the central birds and the subtle rippling of the water.
Table-tops like these originally appeared in a rectangular form
and it is believed that this circular form was used in libraries.
In any case, they indicate a design intended for the centre of a
room. If you look underneath the table you will see an equally decorative
set of legs featuring lions feet and heads. Not produced at
the same time as the table-top, this stand is an example of early
ninteenth-century British craftsmanship.