This gorgeous wood tray was made in Italy in the 1950's, probably in Florence where the art of marquetry started in the 1600's. The wood veneers in varied colors and grains were hand cut and pieced, then covered with clear glass for protection. The technique is also spelled marqueterie, from the French 'marqueter' which means to variegate, or make with different colors, certainly an apt description of the intricate designs on this tray. On a background of black, surrounded by beautifully contrasting birdseye maple and gilded arabesques, the central flowers and foliage form a glowing central motif.
The back of the tray is mahogany veneer with a lovely even grain. The original mid-century "MADE IN ITALY" label still remains on the back. The tray is surrounded by a pierced brass gallery and sides, with a brass handle at each end.
Measuring 16 inches long, 9 inches wide and about 1 1/4 inches high, the tray weighs 1 pound, 9 ounces. The brass has aged and has wear on the gallery and a bit more on the handles, which add to the vintage look. The glass top has been used for serving, so has myriad tiny scratches, the type you have to tilt the tray in just the right light to see. The bottom has many small scratches also, from being set down on various surfaces throughout its 60 some years of existence. This tray is a handsome way to serve and so decorative to display.
Note: The Bavarian china pieces pictured are part of a chocolate set, available here: