So renowned was the marquetry furniture of Giuseppe Maggiolini that during his own lifetime his work was widely copied. The name Maggiolini became widely associated with all furniture decorated with wood inlay in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Italy. He created masterpieces of illusions: bouquets, classical architecture, musical instruments, ribbons, and fruit, composed of arrangements of various stained or naturally colored woods.
Maggiolini began his career as a carpenter in a Cistercian monastery and established his own workshop when he was twenty. In 1771 he began working for Archduke Ferdinand of Austria, Governor General of Lombardy. He set up a second workshop in Milan, where he "surrounded himself with many workmen, up to thirty in number...directing them with indefatigable patience and diligence."
In addition to serving the court of Milan, Maggiolini created pieces for other European royalty including the king of Poland, Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, the duchess of Austria, and Napoleon's widow, Empress Maria Luisa.