An early 18th century (circa 1720) Italian pietra dura panel in gilt frame, possibly from the Grand Ducal workshops, Florence - ADDITIONAL IMAGES CAN BE VIEWED BELOW:
This pietra dura panel depicts an Italian landscape, probably Florence in Tuscany, with a castle in the background and two figures in the foreground.
The delicate colours and landscape characteristic of 18th century Florentine pietra dura work, the subtle tones of stones chosen producing a wonderful scene.
The panel is supported in a decorative gilt frame with moulded edge and ball decoration.
To the reverse is a typed label as follows:
‘’Given by a German Princess
Dr. Hallifax, physician to George IV.
Great Uncle to A.P.H. and brother to
Bishop H Sc Pietra Dinva’’.
(One of five pictures from the Halwell
We believe that A.P.H. refers to Captain Albert Praed Hallifax, a Captain in the 3rd Hussars, his Great Uncle being Dr. Hallifax, physician to George IV.
Albert Hallifax and his family had lived in Halwell House, South Pool in Devon in the mid-late 19th century along with seven servants including a governess, Albert being the last Lord of the Manor of this house.
The Italian term ‘Pietra Dura’ or ‘Pietre Dure’ translating to ‘hard stone’ and often called ‘painting in stone’ was created during The Renaissance in Florence, Italy, a technique of inlaying different shaped and coloured specimen marbles and semi-precious stones into a background to create an image, this fine work found on table tops, boxes, vases, pictures and panels, the panels often incorporated into caskets and cabinets.
This Florentine art was highly prized in all the courts of Europe but particularly the Medici Court of Florence under the patronage of Cosmo I, his son Francesco and Cosmo’s brother Ferdinand who established the Grand Ducal workshop, the Galleria dei Lavori in 1588.
During the late 17th and early 18th centuries landscapes with views of Tuscany and architecture became popular in the Florentine workshops, these were produced by the Grand Ducal workshops in the early 18th century and became very desirable by collectors in the 19th century.
Similar panels can be seen within an 18th century cabinet and casket in The Gilbert Collection, images and information regarding this cabinet and casket can be found in the book ‘Hardstones’, The Gilbert Collection by Anna Maria Massinelli, pages 44-47.
Sir Arthur Gilbert and his wife created one of the world’s greatest decorative art collections and this wonderful collection was donated to Britain in 1996, the cabinet now within the V&A collection but currently not on display.
This framed panel is in very good condition for age, is of stable construction and can go straight into a home or collection.
Provenance: Private collection, Suffolk.
Height: 5.75'' / 14.5cm
Width: 7.25'' / 18.5cm
Depth: 1'' / 2.5cm