Antique Polished Lapis Lazuli and Ormolu Sphere Circa 1860 19th Century


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Object Description

This is a striking antique lapis lazuli sphere with ormolu support, circa 1860 in date.

This exquisite lapis lazuli sphere features the distinctive deep intense blue typical of the polished stone.

It stands on a superb ormolu openwork support in the form of a tripartite base with three stunning mythical sea beasts, which adds that extra touch of splendour to this exquisite item.

This delightful object will look beautiful on display in any room in your home.

It is of the highest quality and is ready to grace your desk.

In excellent condition. Please see photos for confirmation.

Dimensions in cm:
Height 17 x Width 12 x Depth 12
Height 9 x Width 9 x Depth 9 – Sphere

Dimensions in inches:
Height 6.7 x Width 4.7 x Depth 4.7
Height 3.5 x Width 3.5 x Depth 3.5 – Sphere

Lapis lazuli, or lapis for short, is a deep blue matamorphic rock used as a semi-precious stone that has been prized since antiquity for its intense color. As early as the 7th millennium BCE, lapis lazuli was mined in the Sar-i Sang mines, in Shortugai, and in other mines in Badakhshan province in northeast Afghanistan. Lapis was highly valued by the Indus Valley Civilisation (3300–1900 BC). Lapis beads have been found at Neolithic burials in Mehrgarh, the Caucasus, and even as far from Afghanistan as Mauritania. It was used in the funeral mask of Tutankhamum (1341–1323 BCE).

At the end of the Middle Ages, lapis lazuli began to be exported to Europe, where it was ground into powder and made into ultramarine, the finest and most expensive of all blue pigments. It was used by some of the most important artists of the Renaissance and Baroque, including Masaccio, Perugino, Titian and Vermeer, and was often reserved for the clothing of the central figures of their paintings, especially the Virgin Mary.

Lapis takes an excellent polish and can be made into jewelry, carvings, boxes, mosaics, ornaments, small statues, and vases. During the Renaissance, Lapis was ground and processed to make the pigment ultramarine for use in frescoes and oil paintings. Its usage as a pigment in oil paint largely ended in the early 19th century when a chemically identical synthetic variety became available.

Our reference: 09504

Object Details

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+44 (0)20 8809 9605

Dealer Location

Manor Warehouse
318 Green Lanes
N4 1BX

Please note that we are also open on alternate Saturdays. Please call to confirm.

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