Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Missing £1m Cabinet Found Outside Pizza Joint Toilets

The missing section of a 17th century cabinet worth £1 million has been found outside the toilets of a pizza restaurant in Yorkshire.

The cabinet will go on auction at Sotheby's next month.

It had been feared that the stand used to hold the intricate piece of furniture featuring scenes of Rome had been lost forever.But the carved wooden table which forms the bottom half of the cabinet was recently discovered in an Ask pizzeria, in York, by the Head of Sotheby’s Mario Tavella.

The top half of the furniture, which features a main picture showing a view of St Peter’s Square, in Rome with the Pope blessing the crowd, had been kept by Sotheby’s on behalf of a client but since the discovery the two pieces have been reunited and will go on auction next month. There are 12 other images of Rome on the piece of furniture.

Mr Tavella realised that the table was almost identical to two other pieces housed in Denmark which had been given by Pope Clement IX as a gift.

The top half of the cabinet is decorated with monuments of Rome and thought to have been crafted by a sculptor more than 300 years ago.

The completed cabinet will form part of the auction house’s sale of important Italian and Continental furniture in London on December 4.

Mr Tavella said: “This was a console I have been looking for the last 20 years. It’s arguably the most important piece of Roman baroque furniture that has ever appeared on the market.”

The cabinet will be sold by the York Conservation Trust which owns the Assembly rooms where Ask pizzeria has rented since 2002.

It is believed to have been owned by the trust for at least half a century, having become separated from the cabinet soon after the Second World War.

With thanks to The Daily Telegraph

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