About 1725

Object Place: Italy; Object Place: Italy


Overall dimensions: H. 185.4 cm (73 in.); W. 81.3 cm (32 in.); D. 50.8 cm (20 in.) Textile dimensions: H. 13 1/4 in.; W. 17 1/2 in.

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Wood; silver and gold leaf; varnish

On View

Angelica Lloyd Russell Gallery (Gallery 142)





Carved and gilded. Rectangular stem on four scroll feet, carved with scrolls and free-standing stalks (?). Eagle supports desk with rococo carving and winged cherubs’ heads at upper corners. Desk lined with gold and green damask (not original).

This dramatic piece was designed to hold a large book or possibly music. Yet it stands so tall and is so richly carved that it may have been intended more as decoration than for practical use. Since the carvings contain no religious symbolism, the lectern may have adorned a private palace rather than a church. The gold-colored surface is actually silver leaf coated with yellow-tinted varnish. The result looks like gold but cost considerably less. This technique, called “argento meccato,” is often found on eighteenth-century furniture from southern Italy.


F[erdinand]. Gordon Morrill (d. 2000), Magnolia, Massachusetts and Florence, Italy (by 1950), from whom purchased.

Credit Line

Harriet Otis Cruft Fund