Giuseppe Maggiolini


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(b Parabiago, nr Milan, 13 Nov 1738; d Parabiago, 16 Nov 1814). Italian furniture-maker. He began his career as a carpenter in the monastery of S Ambrogio della Vittoria at Parabiago, near Milan, and from 1771 worked for Milanese and Genoese patrons. He was appointed cabinetmaker to Ferdinand (1754-1806), Archduke of Austria and Governor of Lombardy, and his wife, Maria Beatrice d’Este (1750-1829). Maggiolini's exceptional marquetry decoration was noticed in 1776 by the painter Giuseppe Levati (1729-1828) and by Marchese Pompea Litta, for whom he executed numerous pieces designed by Levati (drawings in Milan, Castello Sforzesco). Maggiolini also worked for Prince Eugène de Beauharnais, as well as for Poniatowski, King of Poland, and Queen Caroline of Naples (1782-1839). Designs for his inlay work were provided by such important artists as Andrea Appiani (1754-1817). Motifs include trophies of musical instruments, fruit, ribbons, volutes of acanthus leaves resembling cornucopias, bouquets of flowers and elements of Classical architecture (e.g. commode, 1790; Milan, Castello Sforzesco). These images were created from various stained and shaded woods, while the body of each piece of furniture was constructed in walnut. Maggiolini's son, Carlo Francesco Maggiolini, an able draughtsman and engraver, often worked with his father. After Giuseppe's death, Carlo Francesco continued the business with Cherubino Mezzanganica (d 1866) until 1834, when Mezzanganica inherited the workshop. All high-quality Italian marquetry furniture dating from the late 18th century is frequently indiscriminately attributed to Maggiolini's workshop. Those pieces that do not bear his signature can be identified by a mark depicting a furniture workshop and the inscription con firma per esteso. His works are in the collections of the Museo Civico and the Palazzo Reale, both in Milan.

From The Grove Encyclopedia of Decorative Arts in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Decorative Arts, Furniture, and Industrial Design.

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