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Coloured marble mosaic tabletop following 16th and 17th century Italian models set on a 17th century Spanish table, from the collection of Count of Las Almenas

By | 17 August, 2015 | 0 comments

In the late 16th century it became popular for board surfaces instead of panels to be used over table frameworks, thereby

allowing the use of very elaborate marquetry and veneers. In less than a century the assembly system had become obsolete. The new technique was popularised in European cities as an example of refinement. It was also in the 16th century that ‘national styles’ appeared for the first time. In Italy the classical style flourished; it had begun to spread in the mid-15th century, particularly in the ecclesiastical world. This is because architects influenced the way the interiors of churches they designed were furnished. The classical style soon began to be

used in the home environment as well. Large Renaissance-style central tables with solid carved wooden legs began to appear, influenced by the marble tables of Roman gardens. One Italian novelty was that furniture became fixed and there was no need to transport it, because the location of residences became stable (if a second home existed, it was visited only once or twice a year).

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Italian influence was very evident in France. It began during the time of King Charles VIII and Francis I, a result of the French invasion of Italy. Italian craftsmen consequently settled in Amboise and Fontainebleau. This influence was especially felt in tables, which lost the tablecloth to show the legs; they were no longer made of oak, rather using walnut, which was easier to carve. Italian influences were complemented by those of Spanish origin during the reign of Henri IV, mainly from regions of Flanders. Spain partially resisted the entry of Italian trends, as women still preferred to sit Muslim-style on cushions instead of using chairs. In furniture, the Muslim influence was still very evident, exemplified above all by the use of very complicated inlays, which tended to be abstract, using many small pieces of wood instead of just a few larger pieces, due to the shortage of that material in the Muslim region. Spanish furniture remained sturdy and unrefined. Leather was used a great deal, especially in so-called friar chairs and hinges

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