Micro mosaic 'Grand Tour' Casket
Micro mosaic 'Grand Tour' Casket
Micro mosaic 'Grand Tour' Casket
Micro mosaic 'Grand Tour' Casket
Micro mosaic 'Grand Tour' Casket
Micro mosaic 'Grand Tour' Casket

Attributed to VATICAN MOSAIC WORKSHOP (founded c.1576)

Micro mosaic 'Grand Tour' Casket

c. 1870 Italy

Offered by Butchoff

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A ‘Grand Tour’ Casket

This lockable casket is made of English pollarded oak inset with five Italian polychrome micromosaic plaques. Micromosaic is a type of work consisting of thousands of tiny hand-made glass tiles, which are uniformly shaped into strings while at a hot temperature, cooled, cut and then placed by hand into the desired design.

The plaques depict various scenes one may have seen while visiting Rome during a Grand Tour of Europe; an event for ‘young aristocrats’ in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Scenes include the ‘Doves of Pliny’ (top); Temples of Saturn and Vespasian situated in the Roman Forum (front); Pantheon and St Peter's Square (sides); and the Colosseum (back).
Circa 1870

Studio del Musaico dell Reverenda Fabbrica di S. Pietro (Mosaic Studio of the Reverenced Work Shop of St. Peter’s) was created around 1576 to create architectural mosaics for the new basilica, and was later established as a distinct entity in 1727, supplying these extraordinarily detailed views of Rome to the new industry of ‘tourism’, in the form of table tops, tablets and jewellery.

The 2nd century AD floor mosaics in Hadrian’s villa in Tivoli, near Rome, were discovered in 1737, inspired the top scene of the ‘Doves of Pliny’. The side panels depicting the Pantheon and St Peter’s Square were inspired by the period’s local architecture, which is significant, as today the Pantheon has been since altered. As history tells us, in the early 17th century, Gian Lorenzo Bernini was commissioned to design and add two Baroque bell towers to the Pantheon, which was originally constructed in the 1st century BC under the orders of Marcus Agrippa, with 1st century AD modifications at Hadrian's direction. Critics later called them ‘the ass’s ears of Bernini’ and were removed in 1883. The scenes on this casket depict the Pantheon with the towers – a very rare illustration!
Height 26.00 cm (10.24 inches)
Width 41.00 cm (16.14 inches)
Depth 32.00 cm (12.60 inches)
Stock Code
micro mosaic, oak

154 Kensington Church Street
W8 4BN

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