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The grandest result came last December when a Roman Mannerist
marble and hardstone table top of c.1625 of near square proportions and superb quality that is very similar to one in the Prado was bid to no less than £1,030,000. But six months earlier (May 26, 2000) they obtained £100,000 for a later c.1700 armorial and floral-inlaid top signed by the scagliola maker Mannelli.

Their sale of Continental furniture and tapestries on May 25 offered a still later signed rectangular scagliola Tuscan top dated to the second quarter of the 18th century measuring 2ft x 3ft 73/4in (62 x 1.06m). This piece also had connections to the Prado since its central panel of a landscape with peasants at a tavern is based on David Teniers’ painting in the Spanish museum. The top is signed Pietro Antonio Paolini, one of the foremost exponents of the art of trompe l’oeil scagliola of his time, and is one of just three known examples that have been signed and dated by him. One of these, dedicated to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, is now in the Pitti Palace, the other which like Sotheby’s example features floral and fruiting swags but has a central medallion of David and Goliath after Titian, was sold by Phillips’ in 1996 for a mid-estimate but what now seems like a bargain £16,000.

This example, pictured, which had been estimated at £50,000-80,000 was taken to a double estimate £130,000, the top price of the sale.