From the 11-12 January edition of the Osservatore Romano (NLM translation) we learn that it is:
[...] a frontal of 1747 - a work of the Turinese cabinet maker Pietro Piffetti (1701-1777) - made in wood covered by mother-of-pearl, inlaid with ivory and tortoiseshell joined by brass wire. It was used for the first time after the restoration which was concluded last 22 December. It was commissioned by Carlo Vittorio Amedeo delle Lanze as a token of gratitude to Pope Benedict XIV for the cardinalatial purple which he received in 1747. Traditionally it was used in the Palatine Chapel of the Quirinal Palace [NLM note: the papal residence until the conquest of Rome by the Italians in 1870] until it was brought to the Vatican by Pius IX.