The Bishop of Mâcon, Clermont and Tours commissioned this table, which is remarkable for its late 17th-century Florentine scagliola top featuring a crest.
Family trees are usually set down on paper, but this one is on a tabletop (136 x 98 cm/approx. 53.56 x 38.7 in) featuring birds and flowers. Made of scagliola—powdered colored marble—on a slate base, it was produced by a Florentine workshop in the late 17th century and stands on antique turned wood legs. Claude II de Saint Georges (1634-1714), Bishop of Mâcon, Clermont and Tours, whose coat of arms is surrounded by a bishop’s miter or hat and crook, commissioned the table for his château at Montceaux-l’Étoile in Burgundy to celebrate his appointment as Archbishop of Lyon. It was inherited by his niece Claudine, wife of Marquis Abel Claude Marie Marthe de Vichy (1740-1793), who had a considerable fortune used primarily to maintain a superb menagerie and a hothouse where he grew exotic trees and plants, and to amass a well-stocked library. The marquis also had a tower built to house a chemistry laboratory and an observatory, where he hosted one Joseph Balsamo, better known as Cagliostro, because of whom he lost his fortune. Modestly estimated at €20,000/30,000, this table, which has been in the hands of the original owner’s descendants, is up for sale in Room 5-6 at Drouot with the Coutau-Bégarie auction house on January 19.