cradle of the Prince of Naples

The cradle of the Prince of Naples is the visiting card of Neapolitan craftsmanship

Category furniture
Type cradle
Artist various
Year 1869
Origin Naples
Material mahogany, mother of pearl, silk, turtleshell, coral, gold,
technique cabinet-making, carving, modeling, gilding, cameo
Style Victorian
Dimensions (WxDxH) Various


The cradle of King Vittorio Emanuele III (1869) is a precious product of Neapolitan eclecticism. Designed by the painter Domenico Morelli (1823-1901) is the result of a wonderful collaboration of various arts that involved skilled local workers. Made by: Domenico Morelli (painter), Ignazio Perriccia (professor of ornate), Errico Alvino, Alessandro Bobbio and Antonio Francesconi (architects).

The cradle brings in on object the city of Naples and its craftsmanship (cabinet-making, sculpture, silk manufacacture and goldsmiths), and was made in just 35 days. It was made to be the synthesis and a symbol of pride of the city of Naples.

Description of the cradle

The wooden base is sculpted in an astonishingly realistic way, on one side there are the fruits of the earth represent the natural beauties of the city (ears, grapes, pomegranates, pears, various plants, a butterfly, a cricket, etc …), on the other side there are the ones of the sea (shells, crustaceans and seaweed come out of a shell, as well as a dolphin).

The cradle is decorated with turtleshell profiles, and has the interior made with silk padding (perhaps of San Leucio). On one side it is supported by putto’s head, on the other side by the tail of a dolphin from which an angel stands with a veil to cover the cradle (not shown in the picture).

It is divided into several decorative bands:

  • White coral mother-of-pearl fascia with alternating star and daisy trims. These symbols were chosen because the child had to have as the first thoughts the heaven and his mother, the Queen Margherita of Savoy.
  • Mother-of-pearl fascia with alternating two coral cameos with smiling cherubs, and a shield with the coat-of-arms of the Savoy with a jewelled crown on top. In a shield there is the motto of the royal house “J’attens mon astre” (Here is my star). The cameos are made of Torre del Greco’s coral.
  • Concave shapen end piece decorated with turtleshell and mother-of-pearl inlays, with cabochon red corals. A gold net and various decorations remind to the wires’s knots of the Conte Verde Savoy transatlantic .

The artists of the cradle of the Prince of Naples

  • The angel: by Tommaso Solari (sculptor of the central statue of the Staircase of Honor), Ernesto Solitario, Giovanni de Bernardi and Emilio Franceschi;
  • The putto: by Stanislao Lista;
  • The vegetables: by Luigi Ottaiano and his pupils Salvatore Pagano, Giovanni de’Bernardi, Vincenzo di Maio, Luigi Mastrodonato and Giuseppe de Vivo;
  • Seafood: by Emilio Franceschi and his pupils Giuseppe Ferrara, Guglielmo Cuniberti, Vincenzo Alfano, Achille Todisco and Luigi Filardo;
  • The net at the base of the cradle: by Emilio Franceschi and Luigi Ottaiano;
  • The cabinet, turtleshell and mother pearl manufaturing: by Luigi Giosa and Vincenzo Paladini;
  • The cameos: by Finizio, Stella, Laudicino, but above all those of Giuseppe Giansante;
  • Jewels on the crowns were mounted by Salvatore Negri, who also made the shields;
  • The gold embroidery:  by Boschetto.

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