ITALIAN GRAND TOUR PLASTER INTAGLIOS

Date: c.1820

IMPRONTE GEMMARIE ,DALLA COLLEZ. CADES NO.10 Box in book form containing plaster copies of Intaglios arranged front and back with manuscript indices.138 small plaster lozenges picturing boats, quadruped animals, birds, aquatic animals, insects, and chimera. These plaster casts of Greek and Roman and later Renaissance gems were collected by travellers undertaking a “grand tour”of Europe in the late C18th and early to mid c19th. The original engraved gems, frequently referred to as intaglios (or intagli) are small and usually semi-precious gemstones that have been carved, (in the Western tradition normally with images or inscriptions only on one face) “in intaglio” with the design cut into the flat background of the stone. Round or oval Greek gems (along with similar objects in bone and ivory) are found from the 8th and 7th centuries BC, usually with animals in energetic geometric poses, often with a border marked by dots or a rim. The Gems were mostly cut by using abrasive powder from harder stones in conjunction with a hand-drill. By the mid-eighteenth century prices for the original gems had reached such a level that collections could only be formed by the very wealthy; less wealthy travellers and collectors made popular the collecting of plaster casts such as these. A generic term for the field of carved stones is “glyptic art”.Although such stones have been collected since antiquity, their usual functions were as seals, often mounted in a ring. The designs register most clearly when viewed in wax impression or as here, in plaster.

£450

Offered by John Underwood Antiquarian Books