Unknown Artist, ‘Pietre Dure Figural Plaque ’, 1815-1918,  M.S. Rau Antiques
Unknown Artist, ‘Pietre Dure Figural Plaque ’, 1815-1918,  M.S. Rau Antiques

An exceptional and rare pietre dure figural plaque. Pietre dure, also known as pietra dura, is a form of mosaic inlay created from polished marbles and minerals resulting in brilliant, colorful designs. With origins as early as the 16th-century, the Italians were particularly fond of pietre dure and used the technique on everything from monumental cabinets to tiny boxes. Wealthy aristocrats making their Grand Tour through Italy were also very fond of pietre dure works.

The technique requires that fine marbles and stones be inlaid into a stone base. By using marbles and stones of varying color, artisans were able to create patterns and pictures in much the same manner as a mosaic. The technique was expensive, requiring not only precious materials, but highly skilled craftsmen. As a result, many works were completed using imitation marble and are know as "scagliola." True marble and stone pietre dure works such as this are very rare and highly collectible. Circa 1860.

Plaque: 8 1/4" high x 5 1/4" wide
Frame: 10 1/2" high x 7 3/4" wide

About Unknown Artist