This is a beautiful antique Grand Tour Italian octagonal micromosaic mounted, ormolu and enamel casket dating from Circa 1875.
The hinged cover decorated with a mesmerizing micromosaic of a Rotunda in Rome while the sides are decorated with enamelled flowers.
It has its original padded silk lined interior and is raised on bun feet.
It is a lovely piece which apart from its functionality is also a decorative one.
In excellent condition commensurate with age and use, the silk interior showing signs of wear, please see photos for confirmation.
Dimensions in cm:
Height 5 x Width 8 x Depth 8
Dimensions in inches:
Height 2.0 x Width 3.1 x Depth 3.1
From the Renaissance they began to be made in Italy, reaching the height of their popularity in the mid 19th century, when Rome was the centre of production; there was a Vatican Mosaic Studio from 1576, set up to create mosaic replicas of the altarpieces in St Peter’s Basilica, which were being damaged by the humid conditions of the vast and crowded interior. They were popular purchases by visitors on the Grand Tour, easily portable, and often taken home to set into an object there. Typical scenes were landscapes of Roman views, rarely of any artistic originality, and the micromosaics were small panels used to inset into furniture or onto snuffboxes and similar objects, or for jewellery.
Religious subjects were copied from paintings. The very smallest mosaic pieces come from works from the period between the late 18th century and the end of the 19th. Fortunato Pio Castellani (1794–1865) expanded the range of subjects in his work in the “archeological style”, copying Roman and Early Christian wall-mosaics.
A distinctive feature of micromosaics is that the tesserae are usually oblong rather than square.The best work can achieve 3,000 to 5,000 tesserae per square inch. The best collections are in the Hermitage Museum and the Gilbert Collection in London.
Our reference: 09162