I love pietra dura and micromosaics. The amount of time and expertise needed so long ago to produce a thing of beauty that is still cherished is so wonderful to contemplate.
This dresser box has two open flowers, one opening flower, three buds, seven leaves and the bough. It is done in white, green and red, artfully.
Country of Origin: Italy.
Manufacturer: This box is a traditional Florence piece, manufactured in the last quarter of the 19th century by , as the label tells us, H. Bosi, manufacturers of fine mosaic, no 1 South Trinity Place, Florence. This is a well respected firm, they produced a large variety of work including trinket boxes, framed wall art, mirror frames, even enormous table tops, all with the fine inlay.
Size: 5" by 2 1/2" by 1 1/4".
Circa: last quarter of the 19th Century.
Condition: The overall condition is as you would expect from an object of substantial age that has been displayed/handled/used, usually over the lifetimes of several owners. Please note the close-up of the area between the open flower and the opening flower. There appears to be something that was spilled in this area, not able to be seen on normal examination.
History Of The Item: The technique of hand applied stone inlay, referred to as pietra dura ( hard stone ) has been an integral part of Italian art form since the 16th century. The process, first seen in Rome, gained commercial popularity in Florence many years later. The inlay is made of slivers of hand cut hardstones, often semiprecious stone or beautifully shaped marble. The stone is affixed with adhesive, but is also reinforced by having the underneath of the stones cut with a slight groove. This " interlocks " the inlay pieces, similar to jigsaw puzzle pieces. They are then secured in a frame, usually wood, but sometimes metal ormolou. They are tightly packed to prevent movement.
Appraiser Tips: Distilled water on a lint free cloth to gently wipe the stones. Damp not wet. Distilled water will not leave calcium lime or mineral deposits on the stones, which over time will dull the stones.
Appraiser Comments: This technique is not exclusive to Italian works. The same style and materials were also used in India, and Southern Asian countries where it is known as parchin Kari. The pieces are cut in much the same way and, as in the Italian pieces, are placed in floral, geometric and even intricate landscape scenes by extremely skilled artisans.
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