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Pietra Dura Locket Frame, Antique Grand Tour Plaque - A Master-signed plaque - Florence, Italy treasure!
Fabulous! A pristine plaque of marble mosaic in this superb all original Locket frame, c. 1840-70. The marble mosaic is signed in gold embossment on the inside silk lining, as noted in our images, the work of artist Giuseppe Montelatici, of Florence. Having spend much of last month in Italy, I seem to have micromosaic and marble mosiac at the forefront of my thinking right now, and this little Florence, Italy Grand Tour frame for carte de visite photos (popular in 1850-70) is a prime example of why these pieces are so appealing (and so pricey in Italy!). Were you to find this one in Florence, say in the shops that flank the Arno there near the Ponte Vecchio (you perhaps know the ones I mean, right?), it would be priced several times our tag price, and might well have gotten to that spot in the window directly via our online store. Yes, it's true, we do sell our fine pietra dura and micromosaic items to dealers throughout Italy, primarily in Rome and Florence. I was just in Florence for a week, amazing myself yet again at the mark-up we poor tourists are expected to pay for these bits of their past. I say why not buy yours from us and use all that money you'll save to pay for your own Grand Tour of Italy. This one is a stunning and beautifully mounted plaque, all work by a Master marble mosaicist of Florence (Firenze), Italy, whose gilt-embossed name remains in the orignal silk interior lining. I found several references to this Master's work, one sold through Sotheby's in 1999 at an undisclosed price and was dated 1870. The 3/8" to 1/2" thick marble plaques are heavy and so beautifully crafted, it's a true jewel of the artistry that was almost unique to Florence, that of marble mosaic. Of course, in those Florence streets, Michelangelo worked marble; a host of the most noted sculptors worked marble there, and it's a legacy that continues in tiny ateliers throughout the city and region, still. The beautifully gilted bronze frame into which it is set is a familiar style for the region and era, as well. The condition of the plaque, gorgeous as it is, is superb and RARE. A great one to group with your complimenting micromosaic or pietra dura caskets, or perhaps larger frames and/or jewelry items, don't you agree? None finer!
Very good to excellent condition. There are no lifts or hairlines or chips or cracks in this fabulous pietra dura plaque. The gilt bronze frame, itself, shows age to the patina, but is also very good to excellent for its age and type and retains its engraved surface, which elevates it as does the rather Gothic-influenced reticulated outer framework, which is also engraved. Original lining is complete within, though does show age. A remarkable gem of a frame! Mosaic shading is the mark of a Master, and you see it throughout in our clear photos. A stunning example of this ancient art!
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San Marcos, CA
Antique French sterling silver, Georgian jewelry, sewing, Black Forest, etc 17th to 19th c. European
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