Look what Patrick Howard Antiques has put up for sale on-line:
815. Superb Pair Framed Pietra Dura Italian Wall Plaques Still Life Flowers 19thCt
A Superb Pair Pietra Dura Highly Decorative Framed Wall Plaques, of exceptional quality and Italian origin, complete with their original Giltwood frames, early to mid Nineteenth Century.
Each finely inlaid depicting Still Life of Flowers, to include a Daisy and a cream Poinsettia each on a leafy branch on a black onyx ground.
Condition: Good condition, with no losses, just a few tiny spots on the onyx. The heavy giltwood frames have been professionally re-gilt.
Width: (entire including frame) 6.25" (16cm). Height: (entire including frame) 6.5” (21.75cm). Thickness of frame: 1.5” (3.75cm).
Shipped to Ceton, France.
Pietra Dura is a term for using cut and fitted highly polished coloured stones to create images. The stonework is glued stone-by-stone to a base after being "sliced and cut in different shape sections, then assembled together so precisely that the contact between each section was practically invisible". Stability was achieved by grooving the undersides of the stones so that they interlocked, rather like a jigsaw puzzle, with everything held in place by an encircling 'frame'. Many different colored stones, particularly various marbles were used, along with semiprecious stones.
The technique first appeared in Rome in the 16th century. It reached it’s peak in Florence. Pietra dura items are generally crafted on green, white or black marble base stones. Typically the resulting panel is completely flat, but some examples have the image is in low relief.
Pietra dura is also different from mosaics because stones are mostly much larger and cut to a shape suiting their place in the image, not all of roughly equal size and shape as in mosaic. In pietra dura, the stones are not cemented together with grout, and works in pietra dura are often portable.
This Offering is a superb example of this ancient craft.