This table is one of the most magnificent surviving examples of the
fashion for silver furniture, which spread to England from the court of
Louis XIV at Versailles, during the reigns of the later Stuart monarchs.
Its solid silver legs support an oak tabletop, overlaid with thick
sheets of silver, bearing the marks of Andrew Moore (1640–1706), a
silversmith from Bridewell in the City of London.
This Renaissance revival of an ancient hard and soft stone inlay technique uses 17 types of gems, jewels and marbles. The central stone is breccia di Tivoli. Discovered around 1559, this stone was highly prized for its rarity and variegated colors which resemble gems set in dark stone.
Tabletop, about 1580-1600, Italian, Florence or Rome
J. Paul Getty bought this cabinet in 1971 against the advice of his curators, who did not think it was genuine.
The cabinet was in suspiciously pristine condition and the surface was coated with colored wax, suggesting that someone had tried to make it look older than it really was. Experts at that time concluded that the cabinet was a product of the Renaissance Revival of the 19th century, when American industrial magnates snapped up Renaissance-style furniture, including many fakes, from cash-strapped European aristocrats.
So, was it a fake or not?
This microscopic image, taken in 2002, helped prove authenticity of a cabinet that many people thought was a fake ever since J. Paul Getty purchased it for a mere $1,700.
This image shows the crystalline structure of a brass tack used to attach a silk lining fabric on the interior of the cabinet. The pattern indicates that the metal was cast into shape. A 19th century copy would have been stamped out in a factory, not cast by hand.