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Centrepiece of Elisa Baciocchi

A.S.E. 1912 no. 79; O.D.A. Gall. Arg. Antichi 1879 n. 98

Room 3
Lapis lazuli and inlaid chalcedony, gilded bronze
73 x 298 cm
A.S.E. 1912 no. 79

Maria Luisa, Duchess of Lucca and Queen consort of Etruria, commissioned the work from the grand duchy’s Galleria dei Lavori in 1807. It took several years to create this centrepiece and it was Elisa Baciocchi, Grand Duchess of Tuscany from 1809, who had the composition continued in order to present it as an extremely precious gift to her brother, Napoleon Bonaparte, responsible for her ascent to the throne. The model has been attributed to Carlo Carlieri, designer at the Galleria dei Lavori, and it is recorded that the “N” of Napoleon was inserted into the decorative laurel crowns, and then eliminated with the end of French rule and the return of the Habsburg Lorraine dynasty. The final changes and bronze exterior finishes in fact date back to the period of Ferdinand III.

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