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Title: Intarsia and Marquetry
Author: Jackson, F. Hamilton (Frederick Hamilton), 1848-1923
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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By the same Author

     Mural Painting--the Decoration of the Wall Surface by means of

     Mosaic and Marble Inlay for Floor, Wall, and Vault






  _With Illustrations from Photographs and from Drawings
  and Tracings by the Author_





  HISTORICAL NOTES--ANTIQUITY,                                         1

  ITALY IN MEDIÆVAL AND RENAISSANCE TIMES,                             8


  IN GERMANY AND HOLLAND, ENGLAND AND FRANCE,                         84

  THE PROCESS OF MANUFACTURE,                                        104


  WORKSHOP RECEIPTS,                                                 133



  1. Patterns used in Borders,                          _facing page_ 8

  2. Various Patterns of Borders,                              "      9

  3. Chair Back from S. Ambrogio, Milan,                       "     10

  4. Door of the Sala del Papa, Palazzo Comunale, Siena,       "     13

  5. The Prophet Amos. Figure intarsia from the  }
     Sacristy of the Cathedral, Florence,        }
  6. The Annunciation. Figure intarsia from the  } _between pages
     Sacristy of the Cathedral, Florence,        } 18 and 19_
  7. The Prophet Hosea. Figure intarsia from the }
     Sacristy of the Cathedral, Florence,        }

  8. The Nativity. Figure intarsia from the Sacristy
     of the Cathedral, Florence,                        _facing page 20_

  9. The Presentation in the Temple. Figure Intarsia
     from the Sacristy of the Cathedral, Florence,             "      21

  10. Panel from Sacristy of S. Croce, Florence,               "      23

  11. Detail of Frieze from the Sacristy of S. Croce,
      Florence,                                                "      24

  12. Lower Seats of Choir, Cathedral, Perugia,                "      25

  13. Upper Seats of Choir, Cathedral, Perugia,                "      26

  14. One Panel, from Upper Series, Cathedral, Perugia,        "      27

  15. Two Panels from the Sala del Cambio, Perugia,            "      28

  16. Frieze from S. Mark's, Venice,                           "      30

  17. Frieze from S. Mark's, Venice,                           "      32

  18. Stalls from the Cathedral, Lucca,                        "      33

  19. Lectern in Pinacoteca, Lucca,                            "      34

  20. Two-leaved Door in the Pinacoteca, Lucca,                "      35

  21. Stalls at the Certosa, Pavia,                            "      36

  22. Detail of Arabesques, lower Seats, Certosa, Pavia,       "      37

  23. Panel from S. Petronio, Bologna,                         "      38

  24. Panel from S. Petronio, Bologna,                         "      39

  25. Panel from S. Miniato, Florence,                         "      40

  26. Panel from S. Maria Novella, Florence,                   "      42

  27. Panel from S. Maria Novella, Florence,                   "      44

  28. Panel in Sacristy of S. Pietro in Casinense, Perugia,    "      46

  29. Panel from Door of Sala del Cambio, Perugia,             "      48

  30. Panel from lower row of Stalls, S. Maria in
  Organo, Verona,                                              "      59

  31. Panels from Monte Oliveto Maggiore, now in
  the Cathedral, Siena,                                        "      60

  32. Frieze from Monte Oliveto Maggiore,                      "      62

  33. Panel from S. Mark's, Venice,                            "      68

  34. Panel from Door in Choir of S. Pietro in
  Casinense, Perugia,                                          "      74

  35. Lunette from Stalls in Cathedral, Genoa,                 "      77

  36. Panel from lower row of Stalls, Cathedral, Savona,       "      78

  37. Panel from the Ducal Palace, Mantua,                     "      80

  38. Panel from the Rathaus, Breslau, 1563,                   "      84

  39. Panel from Church of S. Mary Magdalene, Breslau,         "      86

  40. Pilaster Strip from the Magdalene Church, Breslau,       "      87

  41. Panel from S. Elizabeth's Church, Breslau,               "      88

  42. Lower Panel of Door, 1564--Tyrolese,                     "      90

  43. Top of Card Table in the Drawing-room, Roehampton
  House; Dutch, 18th Century,                                  "      92

  44. Panelling from Sizergh Castle, now in Victoria
  and Albert Museum,                                           "      93

  45. Cabinet with falling front, in the Drawingroom,
  Roehampton House,                                            "      94

  46. Cabinet belonging to Earl Granville. Boulle
  work of about 1740,                                          "      96

  47. Top of Writing Table in the Saloon, Roehampton
  House. Period of Louis XV.,                                  "      97

  48. Encoignure, signed J. F. Oeben, in the Jones
  Bequest. Victoria and Albert Museum,                         "      98

  49. Panel from back of Riesener's bureau, made
  for Stanislas Leczinski, with figure of Secrecy,             "     100

  50. Roundel from bureau, made for Stanislas
  Leczinski, King of Poland, now in the
  Wallace Collection,                                          "     102

  51. Antonio Barili at work, by himself,                      "     104

  52. Panel from the Victoria and Albert Museum,               "     106

  53. Panel from S. Maria in Organo, Verona,                   "     122

  54. Panel from S. Maria in Organo, Verona,                   "     126

  55. Panel from S. Pietro in Casinense, Perugia,              "     130


If there is one quality which more than another marks the demand of the
present day it is the requirement of novelty. In every direction the
question which is asked is not, "Is this fresh thing good? Is it
appropriate to, and well-fitted for, its intended uses?" but "Is it
novel?" And the constant change of fashion sets a premium upon the
satisfaction of this demand and enlists the commercial instinct on the
side of perpetual change. While there are directions in which this
desire is not altogether harmful, since at least many monstrosities
offend our eyes but for a short time, a full compliance with it by the
designer is likely to prove disastrous to his reputation, and recent
phases in which an attempt has been made to throw aside as effete and
outworn the forms which have gradually grown with the centuries, and to
produce something entirely fresh and individual, have shown how
impossible it is at this period of the world's history to dispense with
tradition, and, escaping from the accumulated experience of the race,
set forth with childlike _naïveté_. Careful study of these experiments
discloses the fact that in as far as they are successful in proportion
and line they approach the successes of previous generations, and that
the undigested use of natural _motifs_ results not in nourishment but in

The object aimed at by this series of handbooks is the recall of the
designer and craftsman to a saner view of what constitutes originality
by setting before them something of the experience of past times, when
craft tradition was still living and the designer had a closer contact
with the material in which his design was carried out than is usual at
present. Since both design and craftsmanship as known until the end of
the 18th century were the outcome of centuries of experience of the use
of material and of the endeavour to meet daily requirements, it may be
justly called folly to cast all this aside as the fripperies of bygone
fashion which cramp the efforts of the designer, and attempt to start
afresh without a rag of clothing, even if it were possible. At the same
time it is not intended to advocate the direct copyism of any style,
whether regarded as good, bad, or indifferent. Some minds find
inspiration in the contemplation of natural objects, while others find
the same stimulus in the works of man. The fashion of present opinion
lays great stress upon the former source of inspiration, and considers
the latter heretical, while, with a strange inconsistency, acclaiming a
form of design based upon unnatural contortions of growth, and a
treatment which is often alien to the material. It is the hope of the
author to assist the second class of mind to the rivalling of the
ancient glories of design and craftsmanship, and perhaps even to convert
some of those whose talents are at present wasted in the chase of the
will-o'-the-wisp of fancied novelty and individuality. Much of what
appears to the uneducated and ill-informed talent as new is really but
the re-discovery of _motifs_ which have been tried and abandoned by
bygone masters as unsuitable, and a greater acquaintance with their
triumphs is likely, one would hope, to lead students, whether designers
or craftsmen, to view with disgust undigested designs indifferently
executed which have little but a fancied novelty to recommend them.

It is intended that each volume shall contain an historical sketch of
the phase of design and craft treated of, with examples of the
successful overcoming of the difficulties to be encountered in its
practice, workshop recipes, and the modes of producing the effects
required, with a chapter upon the limitations imposed by the material
and the various modes of evading those limitations adopted by those who
have not frankly accepted them.


The subject treated of in this handbook has, until lately, received
scant attention in England; and except for short notices of a general
nature contained in such books as Waring's "Arts Connected with
Architecture," technical descriptions, such as those in Holtzapffel's
"Turning and Mechanical Manipulation," and a few fugitive papers, has
not been treated in the English language. On the Continent it has,
however, been the subject of considerable research, and in Italy,
Germany, and France books have been published which either include it as
part of the larger subject of furniture, or treat in considerable detail
instances of specially-important undertakings. From these various
sources I have endeavoured to gather as much information as possible
without too wearying an insistence upon unimportant details, and now
present the results of my selection for the consideration of that part
of the public which is interested in the handicrafts which merge into
art, and especially for the designer and craftsman, whose business it
is or may be to produce such works in harmonious co-operation in the
present day, as they often did in days gone by, and, it may be hoped,
with a success akin to that attained in those periods to which we look
back as the golden age of art.

The books from which I have drawn my information are principally the

In Italian--Borghese and Banchi's "Nuovi documenti per la storia dell'
Arte Senese"; Brandolese's "Pitture, sculture, &c., di Padova"; Caffi's
"Dei lavori d'intaglio in legname e d'intarsia nel Cattedrale di
Ferrara"; Calvi's "Dei professori de belle arti che fiorirono in Milano
ai tempi dei Visconti, &c."; Saba Castiglione's "Ricordi"; Erculei's
paper in his "Catalogue of the Exhibition of works of carving and inlay
held at Rome in 1885"; Finocchietti's "Report on carving and inlaid work
in the Jurors' report on the Exhibition of 1867 in Paris"; Lanzi's
"History of Painting in Italy"; Locatelli's "Iconografia Italiana";
Marchese's "Lives of Dominican Artists"; Milanesi's "Documenti per la
Storia dell' Arte Senese"; Morelli's "Notizie d'opere di disegno nella
prima metà dell' Secolo XVI."; Tassi's "Vite di pittori, architetti,
&c., Bergamaschi"; Temanza's "Vite dei piu celebri architetti, &c.,
Dominicani"; Tiraboschi's "Biblioteca Modenese"; Della Valle's "Lettere
Senesi sopra le belle Arti"; Vasari's "Lives," with Milanesi's notes and
corrections, and papers in the "Bullettino di Arti, Industrie e
Curiosità Veneziane," the "Atti e memorie della Società Savonese," the
"Archivio Storico dell' Arte and its continuation as L'Arte," and the
"Archivio Storico Lombardo," by such men as Michele Caffi, G. M. Urb,
Ottavio Varaldo, Francesco Malaguzzi Valeri and L. T. Belgrano.

In German--Becker and Hefner Alteneck's "Kunstwerke and Geräths Schaften
des Mittelalters und der Renaissance"; Bucher's "Geschichte der
Technischen Kunst"; Burckhardt's "Additions to Kugler's Geschichte der
Baukunst, and Geschichte der Renaissance in Italien"; Demmin's "Studien
über die Stofflich-bildenden Künste"; Von Falke's "Geschichte des
deutsches Kunstgewerbes"; Scherer's "Technik und Geschichte der
Intarsia"; Schmidt's "Schloss Gottorp"; Seeman's "Kunstgewerbliche
Handbücher"; Teirich's "Ornamente aus der Blüthezeit italienischer
Renaissance," and articles in "Blätter für Kunstgewerbe," and the
"Kunstgewerbeblatt of the Zeitschrift für bildende Kunst," by such men
as Teirich, Issel and Ilg.

In French--Asselineau's "A. Boulle, ébéniste de Louis 14"; Burckhardt's
"Le Cicerone"; Champeaux's "Le bois appliquée au mobilier," and "Le
meuble"; Demmin's "Encyclopédie historique, archeologique, &c.";
Luchet's "L'Arte industriel à l'Exposition Universelle de 1867," and
other encyclopædias.

In English--"The handmaid to the arts"; Holtzapffel's "Turning and
mechanical manipulation"; Pollen's paper on "Furniture in the Kensington
Catalogue of Ancient and Modern furniture"; Leader Scott's "The
Cathedral builders"; Tomlinson's "Cyclopædia of Useful Arts"; Waring's
"The Arts connected with architecture"; and Digby Wyatt's "Industrial
Arts of the 19th Century," together with detached articles found in
various publications.

Those who desire further examples of arabesque patterns may find them in
Issel's "Wandtäfelungen und Holzdecken"; Lacher's "Mustergültige
holzintarsien der Deutschen Renaissance aus dem 16 und 17 Jahrhundert";
Lachner's "Geschichte der Holzbaukunst in Deutschland"; Lichtwark's "Der
ornamentstich der deutschen Frührenaissance"; Meurer's "Italienische
Flachornamente aus der Zeit der Renaissance"; Teirich's "Ornamente aus
der Blüthezeit italienischer Renaissance," and Rhenius "Eingelegte
Holzornamente der Renaissance in Schlesien von 1550-1650."

I have thought it better to run the risk of incompleteness than to
overload the text with the mere names of indifferent designers and
craftsmen about whom and whose work scarcely anything is known,
believing that my object would be attained more surely by pointing to
the work and lives of those about whose capacity there can be no

My thanks are due to the officials of the British Museum Library and of
the Art Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum for the great
assistance which they have given me in many ways, the facilities
afforded me, and their unfailing kindness and courtesy; and to the
Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum for similar kindness and

I have also to thank my friend Mr. C. Bessant, whose experience in all
kinds of cabinet work is so great, for very kindly looking over the
section dealing with the processes of manufacture.




The word "intarsia" is derived from the Latin "interserere," to insert,
according to the best Italian authorities, though Scherer says there was
a similar word, "Tausia," which was applied to the inlaying of gold and
silver in some other metal, an art practised in Damascus, and thence
called damascening; and that at first the two words meant the same
thing, but after a time one was applied to work in wood and the other to
metal work. In the "Museo Borbonico," xii., p. 4, xv., p. 6, the word
"Tausia" is said to be of Arabic origin, and there is no doubt that the
art is Oriental. It perhaps reached Europe either by way of Sicily or
through the Spanish Moors. "Marquetry," on the other hand, is a word of
much later origin, and comes from the French "marqueter," to spot, to
mark; it seems, therefore, accurate to apply the former term to those
inlays of wood in which a space is first sunk in the solid to be
afterwards filled with a piece of wood (or sometimes some other
material) cut to fit it, and to use the latter for the more modern
practice of cutting several sheets of differently-coloured thin wood
placed together to the same design, so that by one cutting eight or ten
copies of different colours may be produced which will fit into each
other, and only require subsequent arranging and glueing, as well as for
the more artistic effects of the marquetry of the 17th and 18th
centuries, which were produced with similar veneers. The process of
inlaying is of the most remote antiquity, and the student may see in the
cases of the British Museum, at the Louvre, and in other museums,
examples of both Assyrian and Egyptian inlaid patterns of metal and
ivory, or ebony or vitreous pastes, upon both wood and ivory, dating
from the 8th and 10th centuries before the Christian Era, or earlier.
The Greeks and Romans also made use of it for costly furniture and
ornamental sculpture; in Book 23 of the "Odyssey," Ulysses, describing
to Penelope the bride-bed which he had made, says--"Beginning from this
head-post, I wrought at the bedstead till I had finished it, and made it
fair with inlaid work of gold, and of silver, and of ivory"; the statue
and throne of Jupiter at Olympia had ivory, ebony, and many other
materials used in its construction, and the chests in which clothes
were kept, mentioned by Homer, were some of them ornamented with inlaid
work in the precious metals and ivory. Pausanias describes the box of
Kypselos, in the opisthodomos of the Temple of Hera, at Olympia, as
elliptical in shape, made of cedar wood and adorned with mythological
representations, partly carved in wood and partly inlaid with gold and
ivory, in five strips which encircled the whole box, one above another.
The Greek words for inlaying used by Homer and Pindar are "[Greek:
daidallô]" and "[Greek: kollaô]," and their derivatives, the first being
also used for embroidering; Homer and Hesiod also use "[Greek:
poikilos]" for "inlaid," which shows how closely at that time the arts
were interwoven. These words have left no trace in the later terms,
though [Greek: kollaô] means to fix together, or to glue, and it is
tempting to connect the French word "coller" with it. Vitruvius and
Pliny use the words "cerostrata" or "celostrata," which means, strictly
speaking, "inlaid with horn," and "xilostraton." The woods used by the
Greeks were ebony, cypress, cedar, oak, "sinila," yew, willow, lotus
(celtis australis), and citron (thuyia cypressoides), a tree which grew
on the slopes of the Atlas mountains. The value of large slabs of this
last was enormous. Pliny says that Cicero, who was not very wealthy
according to Roman notions, spent 500,000 sesterces (about £5400) for
one table. Asinius Pollio spent £10,800, King Juba £13,050, and the
family of the Cethegi £15,150 for a single slab. The value of this wood
consisted chiefly in the beautiful lines of the veins and fibres; when
they ran in wavy lines they were called "tigrinæ," tiger tables; when
they formed spirals like so many little whirlpools they were called
"pantherinæ," or panther tables, and when they had undulating, wavy
marks like the filaments of a feather, especially if resembling the eyes
on a peacock's tail, they were very highly esteemed. Next in value were
those covered with dense masses of grain, called "apiatæ," parsley wood.
But the colour of the wood was also a great factor in the value, that of
wine mixed with honey being most highly prized. The defect in that kind
of table was called "lignum," which denoted a dull, log colour, with
stains and flaws and an indistinctly patterned grain. Pliny says the
barbarous tribes buried the wood in the ground when green, giving it
first a coating of wax. When it came into the workmen's hands they put
it for a certain number of days under a heap of corn, by which it lost
weight. Sea water was supposed to harden it and act as a preservative,
and after bathing it, it was carefully polished by rubbing by hand. The
use of such valuable wood naturally led to the use of veneers, and the
practice was universal in costly furniture. The word "xilotarsia" was
used by the Romans to designate a kind of mosaic of wood used for
furniture decoration. Its etymology suggests that the Greeks were then
masters in the art. They divided works in tarsia into two
classes--"sectile," in which fragments of wood or other material were
inserted in a surface of wood, and "pictorial," in which the various
pieces of wood covered the ground entirely. The slices of wood,
"sectiles laminæ," were laid down with glue, as in modern work. Wild and
cultivated olive, box, ebony (Corsican especially), ilex, and beech were
used for veneering boxes, desks, and small work. Besides these the
Romans used the citrus, Syrian terebinth, maple, palm (cut
transversely), holly, root of the elder, and poplar; the centres of the
trees being most prized for colour and markings. [See note giving
extracts from Pliny.[1]]

A few notes on the exceptional scantlings of timber in antiquity may be
interesting, though not strictly belonging to our subject. A stick of
fir prepared to repair a bridge over the Naumachia in the time of Nero
was left unused for some time to satisfy public curiosity. It measured
120 feet by 2 feet the entire length. The mast of the vessel which
brought the large obelisk from Egypt, afterwards set up in the Circus
Maximus, and now in front of S. John Lateran, was 100 feet by 1-1/2
feet, and the tree out of which it was cut required four men, holding
hands, to surround it. A stick of cedar, cut in Cyprus and used as the
mast of an undecireme, or 11 banked galley of Demetrius, took three men
to span the tree out of which it was cut. It was the exceptional sizes
of such pieces of timber, and veneers cut from them, which made the
value of tables in Rome.


[1] Pliny, Book 16, Chap. 83--"Glue, too, plays one of the principal
parts in all veneering and works of marquetry. For this purpose the
workmen usually employ wood with a threaded vein, to which they give the
name of 'ferulea,' from its resemblance to the grain of the giant
fennel, this part of the wood being preferred from its being dotted and
wavy." Chap. 84--"The wood, too, of the beech is easily worked, although
it is brittle and soft. Cut into thin layers of veneer it is very
flexible, but is only used for the construction of boxes and desks. The
wood, too, of the holm oak is cut into veneers of remarkable thinness,
the colour of which is far from unsightly; but it is more particularly
where it is exposed to friction that this wood is valued, as being one
to be depended upon; in the axle trees of wheels, for instance, for
which the ash is also employed, on account of its pliancy, the holm oak
for its hardness, and the elm for the union in it of both these
qualities.... The best woods for cutting into layers and employing as a
veneer for covering others are the citrus, the terebinth, the different
varieties of the maple, the box, the palm, the holly, the holm oak, the
root of the elder, and the poplar. The alder furnishes, also, a kind of
tuberosity, which is cut into layers like those of the citrus and the
maple. In all the other trees, the tuberosities are of no value
whatever. It is the central part of trees that is most variegated, and
the nearer we approach to the root the smaller are the spots and the
more wavy. It was in this appearance that originated that requirement of
luxury which displays itself in covering one tree with another, and
bestowing upon the more common woods a bark of higher price. In order to
make a single tree sell many times over laminæ of veneer have been
devised; but that was not thought sufficient--the horns of animals must
next be stained of different colours, and their teeth cut into sections,
in order to decorate wood with ivory, and, at a later period, to veneer
it all over. Then, after all this, man must go and seek his materials in
the sea as well! For this purpose he has learned to cut tortoise shell
into sections; and of late, in the reign of Nero, there was a monstrous
invention devised of destroying its natural appearance by paint, and
making it sell at a still higher price by a successful imitation of

"It is in this way that the value of our couches is so greatly enhanced;
it is in this way, too, that they bid the rich lustre of the terebinth
to be outdone, a mock citrus to be made that shall be more valuable than
the real one, and the grain of the maple to be feigned. At one time
luxury was not content with wood; at the present day it sets us on
buying tortoise shells in the guise of wood."--Pliny's Natural History,
Bohn's Translation.


The mediæval craft seems, however, to have been derived from the East,
though Theophilus mentions the Germans as clever practitioners in
woodwork. A minnesinger's harp of the 14th century, figured by Hefner
Alteneck, appears to bear out his remark, though later in date, with its
powdering of geometrical inlays and curiously-designed sprigs, which
might almost have been produced by the latest art craze, which apes
archaic simplicity. It belonged to the knightly poet Oswald von
Wolkenstein, who died in 1445; the colours used are two browns, black,
white, and green. The oriental inlays of ivory upon wood, elaborate and
beautiful geometrical designs, are still produced in India in much the
same fashion as in the middle ages, for the possibilities of geometric
design were exhausted by the Arabs in Egypt and the Moors in Spain; and
in Venice there was a quarter inhabited by workmen of the latter race
who made both metal work and objects in wood. Except for the inlaid
ivory casket in the Capella Palatina, at Palermo, which seems to be a
work of Norman times, we have no work of the kind which can be dated
with precision before the appearance in the north of Italy of the
similar "lavoro alla Certosa," or "tarsia alla Certosina"; but since
inlaying with small pieces of marble and vitreous pastes was practised
in central and southern Italy certainly from the 12th century, there is
little difficulty in imagining how its use arose. This work has its
derivative still existing in England in the so-called "Tonbridge ware,"
which is made by arranging rods of wood in a pattern and glueing them
together, after which sections are sliced off--the same proceeding, in
effect, as that which the Egyptians made use of with rods or threads of
glass. One must allow, however, that the wooden border inlays, which are
also placed under this heading, show greater craft mastery, as the
examples appended show, which are typical instances. The chair-back from
S. Ambrogio, Milan, is a characteristic example of the simpler form on a
tolerably large scale.

[Illustration: Plate 1.--_Patterns used in Borders._

_To face page 8._]

[Illustration: Plate 2.--_Various Patterns of Borders._]

Historians are agreed that the cradle of Italian carving and inlaying
was Siena, where there is mention of a certain Manuello, who, with his
son Parti, worked in the ancient choir of the Cathedral in 1259.
Orvieto was another place where tarsia work was made at an early date,
but the craftsmen were all Sienese. Mastro Vanni di Tura dell' Ammanato,
the Sienese, made the design of the stalls for the Cathedral in 1331,
and commenced the work, some remains of which are still preserved in the
Museum of the Opera del Duomo. Twenty-eight artists were employed on
these stalls; Giovanni Talini, Meo di Nuti, and others, all Sienese,
assisted him, but he died before they were finished, and they remained
incomplete till 1414, when Domenico di Nicolò is recorded as undertaking
the work; but neither did he finish it, for in 1431 the overseers gave
it to Pietro di Minella, and then to his brother Antonio, and to
Giovanni di Lodovico di Magno. The woods used were ebony, box, walnut,
and white poplar, and the cost was 3152 lire. In the 14th century tarsia
was executed at Siena, Assisi, where in 1349 Nicolo di Nicoluccio and
Tommaso di Ceccolo worked at the Cathedral stalls, which no longer
remain; Verona, in the sacristy of S. Anastasia, in which city are some
inlays resembling those at Orvieto, and Perugia, where some inlays
remain in the Collegio della Mercanzia, but remains of the period are
few, as may be expected.

[Illustration: _To face page 10._ Plate 3.--_Chair Back from S.
Ambrogio, Milan._]

Domenico di Nicolò worked for 13 years at the chapel in the Palazzo
Pubblico at Siena, using some of Taddeo Bartoli's designs, and also
did the doors of the Sala di Balia, or of the Pope. This man, who was
one of the best Sienese masters of intarsia and carving, and was head of
the Opera del Duomo in 1400, and whose work brought him so much
reputation that his family name of Spinelli was changed for himself and
his descendants to Del Coro, or Dei Cori, is an example and a proof of
the small profit which was to be made even then by conscientious and
careful work. He was not only a worker in wood, in 1424 he also did the
panels of the Cathedral floor, representing David and Goliath, the
Amorite Kings, and Samson, ascribed by Vasari to Duccio; in 1415 he was
paid 42 lire for a tabernacle made of gesso, while as early as February
28, 1397-8, he was paid 32 lire 10 soldi for 32-1/2 days' work on a
window above the pulpit; yet on May 13, 1421, he petitions the priors
and captain of the people to this effect. He says that he is poor, and
cannot meet the requirements of his family and apprentices, each of
whom, he says, costs 30 or 40 florins a year, and therefore suggests
that he should have two or three boys to teach, and that the priors
should subsidize him for that purpose, and binds himself to teach them
all he can without reserve. The priors and captains recommended to the
council that he should be paid by the chamberlain of Bicherna 200 lire,
free of tax, by the year, "nomine provisionis libr: ducentos den:
nitidas de gabella," and should have two or three Sienese youths to
teach, and the council passed the recommendation the same day.
Twenty-six years later, January 14, 1446-7, he appears again in the
records with a petition to the Signory. He says that he has always, from
his youth up, done his best to provide for his family, and that by his
craft he has always tried to bring honour on the city and spread the
fame of his works. That as they know he was granted money to teach his
art to any young man who wanted to learn it, but "because this art was,
and is, little profitable, there was no one who wished to go on with it
except Master Mactio di Bernacchino, who followed the art thoroughly,
and became an excellent master." That, as he thought he was fairly
prosperous, he gave up the grant (like an honest man!), but the expenses
of marrying and dowering his daughters had been so great, and added to
the losses caused by the small profits on his work, had reduced him to
such poverty that he did not see how he could go on, being 84 years of
age, or thereabouts, and having a sick wife. He therefore asked to have
a small pension settled on him for the few years he and his wife had to
live. He was granted two florins a month, but three years later all
mention of him ceases.

[Illustration: Plate 4.--_Door of the Sala del Papa, Palazzo Comunale,

_To face page 13._]

The choir of the Chapel of the Palace had been given in 1414 to Simone
d'Antonio and Antonio Paolo Martini, but they did not satisfy the
public, so it was taken from them and given to Domenico di Nicolò,
August 26, 1415. The tarsie are 21 in number, and represent the clauses
of the apostles' creed and the symbols of the apostles. The unsuccessful
work was given to the prior of the Servites. In the Communal records
occur the following, March 31, 1428:--"Domenico di Nicolò, called
Domenico del Coro, is to have 45 florins at 4 lire the florin for his
salary and the workmanship of the door which he has made at the entrance
of the Sala del Papa in the Communal Palace, which salary was declared
by Guido of Turin and Daniello di Neri Martini, two of the three workmen
upon the contract of the said door, at 180 lire. And is to have 3152
lire for his salary and workmanship of 21 seats made in the Palace of
the Magnificent Signors, with all both '_fornamenti et facti_,' in full
according to his contract"--accepted by Guido di Torino and Daniello di
Neri Martini. He was called to Orvieto in 1416 to refix the roof of the
Cathedral; he was not to have more than 200 florins a year, but if he
came himself all expenses were to be paid. This suggests an appointment
like that of a consulting engineer.

From Siena masters were continually sent to the other great towns to
design and carry out works of architecture, sculpture, and woodwork, as
entries in Sienese documents show. In early times the various arts
connected with building were in close union, and it appears tolerably
certain that one guild sheltered them all, proficiency being required in
several crafts and mastery in one. We find the same man acting in one
place as master builder or architect, and sometimes only giving advice,
while elsewhere he is sculptor or woodworker. The painter, the
mosaicist, and the designer for intarsia are confused in a similar
manner. Borsieri calls Giovanni de' Grassi, the Milanese painter (known
as Giovanni de Melano at first, a pupil of Giotto and Taddeo Gaddi;
pictures of his are in the Academy, Florence, and in the cloister of S.
Caterina Milan), "an excellent architect"; and he also worked in relief,
besides conducting very important architectural works. He says that
about 1385 Giovanni Galeazzo opened an academy of fine art in his
palace, which was conducted by Giovanni de' Grassi and Michelino da
Besozzo. On June 19, 1391, he was paid five florins for models executed
by him, and something for the expense of execution in marble by another
hand. In 1391 he was called upon by the Council of the Duomo, and after
four months of uncertainty was assigned the position and pay of first
engineer, with a servant who was paid by the Council. He did the door of
the S. Sacristy; it was finished in July, 1395, when he was ordered to
decorate it with gilding and blue. He also made designs for capitals and
window traceries, and carved a God the Father for a centre boss of the
vault of the N. Sacristy. He illuminated the initials, &c., of a copy of
the Ambrosian ritual of Berold for the "Fabbriceria," and this was his
last work, as he died July 5, 1398, and the price was paid to his son
Solomon, the officials declaring that it was most moderate. His pupils
were nearly all both painters and sculptors, and some of them became
stained-glass painters. It is well known that Taddeo Gaddi was painter,
architect, and mosaicist, and Giotto, painter, sculptor, and architect,
and these details are an example of what was then continually going on.
Both in mediæval times and at the beginning of the Renaissance the most
celebrated architects often called themselves by the most humble
titles--"Magister lignaminio," "maestro di legname," "faber lignarius,"
"carpentarius." Minerva, the worker, was the patron of all workmen from
Pheidias to the lowest pottery thrower, and in Christian times the
Quattro Coronati, the four workmen-saints, were the patrons of all who
worked with their hands.

The oldest of the differentiated guilds appears to be that of the
painters, at least in Siena, where one was established in 1355, while in
Florence they were obliged to enrol themselves in the "Art" of the
"medici e speziali," unless they preferred, as many of them did, to be
reckoned with the goldsmiths. In Siena the Goldsmiths' Guild followed
the Painters' Guild in 1361, while the workers in stone formed their
guild still later. Among the painters were included designers of every
sort--moulders, and workers in plaster, stucco, and papier maché, gold
beaters, tin beaters, &c., and masters and apprentices in stained glass,
also makers of playing cards--a most comprehensive guild. Vasari, in his
life of Jacopo Casentino, architect and painter, says, however, "Towards
1349 the painters of the old Greek style, and those of the new,
disciples of Cimabue, finding themselves in great number, united and
formed at Florence a company under the name and protection of S. Luke
the Evangelist"; and Baldinucci, in his "Notizie dei professori di
disegno," prints the articles of association at length. Others hold that
the Confraternità dei Pittori was not founded till 1386.

[Illustration: Plate 5.--_Figure intarsia from the Sacristy of the
Cathedral, Florence._


_This and the two succeeding are part of the same composition._

_To face page 18._]

[Illustration: Plate 6.--_Figure intarsia from the Sacristy of the
Cathedral, Florence._


[Illustration: Plate 7.--_Figure intarsia from the Sacristy of the
Cathedral, Florence._


The rapid rise of the last-named city in wealth and importance was the
reason that so much of the best later 15th century inlaid work was done
there, or at least by Florentines, though the art was not new to
Florence, the names of Matteo di Bernardino, Pietro Antonio, Giovanni
del Mulinella, and Domenico Tassi being recorded as working there in the
14th century. Vasari, as usual, is somewhat inaccurate; he says that
tarsia was first introduced in the time of Brunelleschi and Paolo
Uccello, "that, namely, of conjoining woods, tinted of different
colours, and representing with these buildings in perspective, foliage,
and various fantasies of different kinds." Both he and Lanzi say that
Brunelleschi gave lessons in perspective and "tarsia" to architects and
others, of which Masaccio in painting and Benedetto da Majano in his
inlaid works availed themselves. Vasari held but a poor opinion of
tarsia, which, he said, "was practised chiefly by those persons who
possessed more patience than skill in design," and goes on to say that
the subjects most suitable to the process are "perspective
representations of buildings full of windows and angular lines, to which
force and relief are given by means of lights and shades"; that although
he had seen some good representations of figures, fruit, and animals,
"yet the work soon becomes dark, and is always in danger of perishing
from the worms or by fires." He adds that it was first practised in
black and white alone, but Fra Giovanni da Verona improved the art by
staining the wood with various colours by means of liquors and tints
boiled with penetrating oil in order to produce light and shadow with
wood of various colours, making the lights with the whitest pieces of
the spindle tree; to shade, some singed the wood by firing, others used
oil of sulphur, or a solution of corrosive sublimate and arsenic. The
"most solemn" masters of tarsia in Florence were the Majani, La Cecca,
Il Francione, and the da San Gallo. The first name which he gives is
that of Giuliano da Majano (1432-90), architect and sculptor, who
executed as his first work the seats and presses of the sacristy of S.
S. Annunziata at Florence, with Giusto and Minore, two masters in
tarsia. He also did other things for S. Marco. In the archives of the
Duomo, Giuliano di Nardo da Maiano is named in a contract for ornamental
wood-work in the sacristy, to be finished in 1465. There is still
existing in the Opera del Duomo a panel of S. Zenobio standing between
two deacons, executed by him from cartoons by Maso Finiguerra, who
designed five figures for the panels of the sacristy. The heads were
painted by Alessio Baldovinetti. There are also several subjects in the
sacristy, a Nativity, resembling Lippino Lippi's picture in the
Accademia; a Presentation in the Temple, not without a reminiscence of
Ghirlandajo's manner; and an Annunciation. The whole scheme of the
decoration of this wall was Giuliano's, but it was the completion of
work begun in 1439 by Angelo di Lazzero of Arezzo, Bernardo di Tommaso
di Ghigo, Giovanni di Ser Giovanni detto Scheggione, painter and brother
of Masaccio, and Antonio Manetti. Milanesi says his father was Leonardo
d'Antonio da Majano, master of wood and stone work. He entered the Arte
del legnajuolo in company with his younger brother Benedetto, and the
first mention of his work in connection with the "Arte" is in 1455, when
he made for the Compagnia di S. Agnese delle Laudi, which met in the
Carmine, a chest with a bookcase of some sort. Five years later he
carved some candlesticks for the Monastery of S. Monaca, and constructed
some cupboards ornamented with inlaid work and perspectives for the
Badia of Fiesole. Among his architectural work may be mentioned the
Chapel of S. Fina at S. Gemignano, which Ghirlandajo embellished with
frescoes. He commenced a choir for the Duomo at Perugia, decorated with
both carving and tarsia, but since he went to Naples shortly after 1481,
and died there in 1490, the greater part of the credit of this work must
be given to Domenico del Tasso, who completed it in 1491. His brother
Benedetto, to whom he turned over most of his commissions for tarsia,
when he became much occupied with architectural work, was born in 1442.
He assisted his brother in many of his works, such as the doors of the
hall of audience in the Palazzo Vecchio, made between 1475 and 1480,
representing Dante and Petrarch, with ornamental borders and other
panels, in which Il Francione also had a hand. He gave up tarsia in
disgust for the following reason, according to the story told by
Vasari:--"He made two chests, with difficult and most splendid mastery,
of wood mosaic, which he wished to show to Matthew Corvinus, then King
of Hungary, who had many Florentines at his Court, and had summoned him
with much favour; so he packed his chests up and sailed for Hungary,
where, when he had made obeisance to the King, and had been kindly
received, he brought forward the said cases and had them unpacked in his
presence, who much wished to see them; but the damp of the water and the
mouldiness of the sea had so softened the glue that when the parcels
were opened almost all the pieces of the tarsia fell to the ground, at
which every one may understand how astonished and speechless Benedetto
was in the presence of so many lords. However, he put the work together
again as he best might, and satisfied the King; still he was disgusted
with that kind of work, not being able to forget the vexation which
he had suffered, and gave it up, taking to carving instead." He finished
his brother's presses in the sacristy of S. Maria dei Fiori, and, in the
opinion of Vasari, surpassed him and became the best master of his
period. He died in 1497. Vasari ascribes the celebrant's seat in Pisa
Cathedral to Giuliano, together with another of spindlewood, "to be
placed in the nave where the women sit," finished and sent home in 1477,
and put up by Baccio Pontelli. Milanesi says, however, that the choir of
this Cathedral was done by Francesco di Giovanni di Matteo da Firenze,
called Il Francione. Guido da Seravallino, between 1490 and 1495, made
for the choir of the sacristy of this Cathedral more than 15
perspectives; the usual price appears to have been 11 lire. He was a
Pisan, and his father's name was Filippo. Domenico di Mariotto first
appears in the accounts in 1489, when he began the choir and seats for
the Campo Santo; he went on with various works of tarsia and carving
till 1513. He was a Florentine, but lived in Pisa for many years, dying
there in 1519. Other names which appear in the accounts are Giuliano di
Salvatore and Michele Spagnuolo. In 1486 Cristophano d'Andrea da
Lendinara and Jacopo da Villa came to make a seat for the choir, but
this does not seem to have been a success, and Il Francione, who had
been at Pisa as long before as 1462, and Baccio di Fino Pontelli, who
appears in 1471, were put in charge of the work. Giovanni Battista
Cervelliera is mentioned first in 1522. He was son of Pietro d'Altro
Pietra, a native of Corsica, who began the singing gallery of the organ
in S. Martino, Pietra Santa, finished by his son, who died in about
1570. In 1596 a great fire took place. After this the best pieces saved
were used in the decoration of the new choir, in 1606, by Pietro Giolli,
who also had some fresh ones made; others were mended by Girolamo
Innocenti, and placed round the walls and round the nave piers in 1613.
The pieces of Giuliano da Majano's work now remaining are in the side
aisles, two at the right, one at the left; one represents King David
with his harp and with a label in the other hand, "Laudate Pueri
Dominum." The other two figures are prophets, and have scrolls,
"Benedicam, benedicam," and "Ve qui condunt legem." Pontelli's Faith,
Hope, and Charity are on the pier near the Chapel of S. Ranier, three
half-length figures of women. The seated figures of the liberal arts on
the side panelling of the church are Il Francione's, women with symbols,
arithmetic, grammar, geometry, astrology, logic, and music. The great
seat in the nave is the work of Giovanni Battista del Cervelliera. In
the centre is a large round-headed panel with the Adoration of the
Magi; at each side are three lower seats with architectural subjects in
the centre and objects in the side panels and below the seats. It is
signed and dated 1536. The whole collection of panels is well worth a
stay at Pisa to see, even if there were not other attractions in that
pleasant little town. In the registers of the "Opera" is an annual
charge for two "sbirri," or two servants of the captain of the people,
to watch the seats of the Cathedral "so that children may not damage
them in the obscurity," which shows that even Italian children could not
always be trusted not to be mischievous.

[Illustration: Plate 8.--_Figure intarsia from the Sacristy of the
Cathedral, Florence._


_To face page 20._]

[Illustration: Plate 9.--_Figure intarsia from the Sacristy of the
Cathedral, Florence._


_To face page 21._]

[Illustration: Plate 10.--_Panel from Sacristy of S. Croce, Florence._

_To face page 23._]

[Illustration: _To face page 24._

Plate 11.--_Detail of frieze from the Sacristy of S. Croce, Florence._]

[Illustration: Plate 12.--_Lower Seats of Choir, Cathedral, Perugia._]

[Illustration: Plate 13.--_Upper Seats of Choir, Cathedral, Perugia._

_To face page 26._]

[Illustration: Plate 14.--_One panel from upper series, Cathedral,

Il Francione had a pupil called Il Cecca. His name was really Francesco
d'Agnolo, but like most men at that time he went by a nick-name. Cecca
is a corruption of Francesco into Cecco, Cecca, from being Francione's
companion and disciple. He was born in 1447; his father was Angelo di
Giovanni, a mender of leather or "galigajo." He came to Florence from
Tonda, a little place near S. Miniato al Tedesco. His father died in
1460; he and three older sisters were left to his mother, Monna Pasqua.
So the 13 year-old boy went bravely to work to keep his mother and
sisters, and entered Il Francione's workshop. When he was 25 he left him
and set up for himself, taking a shop in the Borgo de' Greci, where he
lived and slept as well as worked. In 1481 he had a commission from the
magistrates, called "degli ufficiali di Palazzo," for all the wood-work
of the Hall of the Seventy, Bernardo di Marco Renzi helping him.
Afterwards he did other work for different parts of the Palace and for
other places, all of which has perished. Finally, he spent most of his
time as architect and engineer, and had a great deal to do with the
fortification of various places and with the great cars for the
"feste"--a not uncommon juxtaposition of engagements. He died in 1488.

The del Tasso lived in the village of S. Gervasio, and moved to a place
near the walls of Florence, a few steps from the Porta a Pinti. Then
they went into the city and had a house in the parish of S. Ambrogio, in
which church Francesco di Domenico made a tomb for himself and his
family in 1470. They had arms; at first they were a goldsmith's anvil
(tasso or tassetto), and above a ball or heap of silver. Afterwards the
field of the shield was divided, and they added in the upper part two
little badgers (tassi) at the side of the anvil, and put below the keys
of S. Peter, crossed, and interspersed with four roses. "And this they
did, not only to point out the parish of S. Pier Maggiore in the
gonfalon 'Chiavi' of the quarter of S. Giovanni, where the del Tasso
lived, but also to differentiate their arms from those almost similar of
another Florentine family of the same name." Evidently there was no
College of Heralds in Florence in those days! The first of the family
recorded is Chimenti di Francesco, who, in 1483-4 made a grating or
gridiron of wood in the Chapel of S. Lorenzo in the Monastery of S.
Ambrogio, and the dossal of the altar called "del Miracolo." In 1488 he
carved a choir of walnut, outlined with tarsia, for the Chapel
Minerbetti in S. Pancrazio, for which he was paid 100 florins of gold.
He had, among others, two sons, Lionardo and Zanobi, who became
sculptors under Benedetto da Majano and Andrea Sansovino. They also
worked in S. Ambrogio, and the figure of S. Sebastian is by Lionardo.
The two brothers in 1499 made nine antique heads of marble and bronze,
which the republic sent as a gift to the Maréchal de Guise in France.
Chimenti had two brothers, also carvers and joiners, Cervagio and
Domenico, who brought up their sons to follow the same calling, who did
many things for triumphal arches, cars, &c., for "feste." Domenico did
the tarsia and rosettes in the seat backs of the refectory of S. Pietro,
Perugia, and a credence of walnut, ordered on October 20, 1490, for the
table of the priors, on which were festoons, griffins, and other inlaid
work. The year after he finished the choir of the Cathedral left by
Giuliano da Majano, and was paid 1404 florins, according to the estimate
of Crispolto and Polimante, Perugian joiners. For the same choir he made
the panelling of wood, for which he was paid 60 florins. There were 34
seats with ornaments at 36 florins each, and three with figures, which
were estimated at 60 florins apiece. Payments were also made to him for
work in the Sala del Cambio, sometimes for wood, sometimes on account of
salary, so that it seems certain that he made the benches there on
finishing the choir of the Cathedral, since they were being made between
1491 and 1494. The first cost 130 florins and 6 soldi in 1491, but it
was not finished till the next year. Polimante da Nicola was made
citizen of Perugia in 1473. Three years after he began the choir of S.
Domenico, which cost 11 florins per seat. Four years later it was still
unfinished. "Mastro Crespolto and Mastro Giovagne" were his assistants.
Domenico had three sons, Chimenti, Francesco, and Marco, who followed
the paternal calling. Chimenti was one of those who were judges in 1490
in the competition for the façade of S. Maria del Fiore, and in 1504 was
one of those chosen to decide the position in the piazza to be occupied
by Michael Angelo's David. Marco was an enthusiastic follower of
Savonarola; in 1491 he was, with his brother Francesco, at Perugia
helping his father, and six years later he undertook work there on his
own account. They did half of the choir of La Badia in 1501-2, and the
very elaborate lectern. The son of Mark was Giambattista, called Maestro
Tasso, who was a fine carver in wood, and, in the opinion of Cellini,
the best in his profession. He did many things both for ephemeral and
lasting purposes, and became an architect, designing the door of the
Church of S. Romolo and the Loggia of Mercato Nuovo, Florence, and
superintending the construction of the latter between 1549 and 1551. In
1548 he designed an addition to the Palazzo Vecchio, then the ducal
residence, and also undertook to execute all the joinery. At the same
time he made a model of the Palace which he intended to build in Pisa,
which, however, was not carried out. He died in 1555. He was said by
Vasari to spend his time in playing the wag, in enjoyment rather than
work, and in criticising the works of others. But Cellini calls him
pleasant and gay; Bronzino, good, lovable, and honest; and so does Luca
Martini, who was a great friend of his. The following story of him,
related by Il Lasca, shows that he was not above playing a practical
joke of a rough character, and that he took great pride in the
achievements of his fellow-artists:--"A Lombard Benedictine abbot on
the way to Rome stayed in Florence, and wished one day to see the
figures on the Medicean tombs in the sacristy of San Lorenzo carved by
Michael Angelo, and having therefore gone thither with his two attendant
monks, the prior of the church asked Tasso, who was then working at the
floor of the library together with his son-in-law Crocini Antonio di
Romolo, under the direction of Michael Angelo, to show the abbot the
sacristy and the said library. Which abbot, after having seen the
figures in the sacristy, and thought very little of them, set off to see
the library, and while he was gently ascending a stair which conducted
to it, talking with Tasso, happened to turn his eyes on the cupola of
Brunellesco, and stopping to look at it commenced to say that, although
it was considered by all the world as a marvel, he had heard a person
worthy of credence say that the dome of Norcia was much more beautiful,
and made with greater art. Which words so much exasperated Tasso that,
pulling the abbot backwards with force, he made him tumble down the
staircase, and he took care to let himself fall on him (!) and calling
out that the frater was mad, he got two cords, with which he bound his
arms, his legs, and all his person, so that he could not move, and then
taking him, hanging over his shoulders, carried him to a room near,
and, stretching him on the ground, left him there in the dark, locking
the door and taking away the key." What happened to the unfortunate
abbot after, and whether he was much damaged or not one does not know,
for the anecdote stops here. Another instance of a family which devoted
itself for many years to the production of tarsia and wood-work,
displaying hereditary aptitude in the craft and gaining great repute, is
given by the Canozii of Lendinara. The first member who took up tarsia,
abandoning his craft of painting for that purpose, was Lorenzo Genesino
da Lendinara, surnamed Canozio, to give him his full description. From
him descended many excellent workers in wood. He studied in Padua, where
he had Mantegna as fellow-student, and worked in company with his
brother, his son, and a relation called Pier Antonio dell' Abate di
Modena, who did the intarsia in the choir of S. Francesco at Treviso in
1486. He died in 1477, and is buried in the first cloister of S. Antonio
at Padua, for which he made the stalls, as his epitaph states. They were
commenced in 1462, were worked at continuously for three years, and
after an interval finished in 1468. They were then coloured and gilded
in places by "Maestro Ugozon de Padoa, depentor." Burnt in 1749, only
two stalls remain, made into confessional boxes, in the Chapel of the
Beato Belludi. The designs for the tarsia of the sacristy were made by
Squarcione, master of Mantegna and Lorenzo, who was paid for them in
1462. There were 90 seats in this choir, so that it was a very important
piece of work. A contemporary account by Matteo Colaccio (1486) shows
what were the aims of the intarsiatori of the period as understood and
admired by the more or less cultivated populace. "In past days in
visiting those intarsiad figures, I was so much taken with the
exquisiteness of the work that I could not withhold myself from praising
the authors to heaven! And to commence with the objects that one sees
around every day, here are books expressed in tarsia that seem real.
Some are one on the other, and arranged carelessly, or by chance, some
closed, some newly bound and difficult to close; candles of wax with the
ends of wicks, now in well-turned wooden candlesticks, one straight, one
crooked, less or more, with another crossing it. Elsewhere one sees
clouds of smoke which spread out from new chimneys, fish which turn
round from a full basket, a cithern which hangs from the centre of a
narrow niche. Close by is a cage of bars expressed with wonderful
spirit. Palaces, towers, and churches, through the half-closed doors of
which one can see in the interior arches and windows, cupolas and
steps. Most natural, then, is it not to be able to decide which tower
to approach; these mountains appear to one covered with grass and with
stones; and where earth of various colours appears there all green is
taken away. But what shall I say of the images of the saints. Of their
uncut and curled beards, of their hands, the joints of their fingers,
their nails? Of their clothes, their sinuous folds, and the shadows? Nor
less pleased me the little collar of rich pearls under the chin of S.
Prosdocimus. Then round the angel Gabriel and the most pious mother one
admires branches with such fruit and twigs that nature does not make
them more true. And this is specially admirable, that through the dull
colour of their leaves they seem to have been taken from the tree
scarcely a day ago." And then he praises in a pompous fashion the folds
of the Virgin's and the Angel's drapery, the silk veil over a chalice,
and the perspective of a flight of steps which support the feet of the
Madonna, &c. One of his first works was done for S. Mark's, Venice, in
1450. His reputation was much increased by the stalls of the Cathedral
of Modena, made in 1472 by Lorenzo and Cristoforo, and restored in 1540
by Mastro Angelo de Piacenza, one of their pupils. He also worked at
Parma in 1473. Fra Luca Pacioli (1509) makes an enthusiastic eulogium
upon Lorenzo, "who, in the said art (perspective), was in his time
supreme, as he showed in all his famous works, as in tarsia in the
worthy choir of the Santo and its sacristy, and in Venice in the Cha
Grande, as well as in painting in the same places and elsewhere. And at
the present time his son, Giovan Marco, my dear comrade, who is worthy
of his paternity, as his work at Rovigo shows, and that in the choir of
our convent in Venice, and in Mirandola, the architecture of which
fortress is well understood." In the sacristy of the Cathedral at Lucca
are five panels from the seats which once surrounded it, signed
"Cristopharus de Canociis de Lendinaria fecit opus, MCCCCLXXXVIII." One
shows S. Martin, the bishop, full length, the others perspectives,
perhaps of various streets of the city as then existing. He did these in
conjunction with Matteo Civitale, and they were his last works. He died
in 1491. Bernardino da Lendinara, who worked at Parma in 1494, and
later, and was a citizen of that town and of Modena, was son of
Cristoforo, who was also citizen of those cities from 1463.

[Illustration: Plate 15.--_Two panels from the Sala del Cambio,

_To face page 28._]

[Illustration: Plate 16.--_Frieze from S. Mark's, Venice._

_To face page 30._]

[Illustration: _To face page 32._ Plate 17.--_Frieze from S. Mark's,

[Illustration: Plate 18.--_Stalls from the Cathedral, Lucca._]

The stalls from the Cathedral at Lucca, which are illustrated, are now
in the Picture Gallery. They were made by Leonardo Marti, of Lucca. When
in 1620 the choir was spoilt (they thought that they were making grand
improvements) they were moved to the church of the Riformati of S.
Cerbone, being badly mutilated to adapt them to their new position.
There, in two centuries of neglect they became in such a state that the
brothers thought them no longer decent, and wished to sell them and make
a new choir. The Opera of the Cathedral and the Commission of Art paid
them something for them, and thus preserved them as they now are, having
executed some restorations here and there.

At Ferrara are some remains of stalls in the apse of the Cathedral which
were commissioned from Bernardino da Lendinara in 1501, though not made
by him owing to the defalcations of a dishonest steward. In 1519 the
Chapter of the Cathedral renewed the contract with Pietro de' Rizzardi
and Bernardino, but as he died in 1520, M. Angelo Discaccia, of Cremona,
son of M. Cristoforo (da Lendinara?), was substituted, and assisted
Rizzardi till the work was finished in 1525. The gilding was done by
Baldassare dalla Viola and Albertino dalla Mirandola. A note in the
books of the Fabbrica, June 30, 1525, states that "Mro. Piero di
Richardo dale Lanze" owes for work not yet completed 58 lire 20 soldi.
There are three rows of seats, 132 in all, and the Episcopal throne in
the middle. The upper row is of 56 seats, without the throne, the middle
one 42, the lowest 34. Originally there were 150, but in the
alterations of 1715 nine from each side were taken away, as the high
altar was placed further within the apse. The upper stalls are divided
by a chancelled column with Corinthian capital, and terminated in a
shell hood. The intarsia on the back showed ornament of fine style,
drawings of sacred objects and perspectives of fine buildings drawn from
various parts of the city. Two of the best preserved show the ducal
castle and the ancient ducal courtyard with the still-existing staircase
constructed by Ercole I. in 1481. The usual bird in a cage appears, the
symbol of human passions conquered by religious abnegation. The lower
rows of seats are also worked in tarsia, but with ornaments of
geometrical form, books, and joint-stools, the diamond, the cognisance
of Ercole I. (who gave the original commission), and the pomegranate,
that of Alfonso, and this last figure, which only occurs in the third
stall to the right in the lower order, makes one think that only that
part was finished under him. The frames surrounding are carved with
restraint. The work cost altogether 2771 lire 8 soldi 2 denari besides
the expense of making the lower seats, which cost 3984 lire marchesane
16 soldi 10 denari. The lira marchesana in 1523-25 corresponded to 43
Roman bajocchi 9 denari, about 2 francs 35 centimes of modern Italian

[Illustration: Plate 19.--_Lectern in Pinacoteca, Lucca._]

[Illustration: Plate 20.--_Two-leaved door in the Pinacoteca, Lucca._

_To face page 35._]

The Canozii were also at Reggio, in the Emilia, in 1474 and in 1485, but
the work of the stalls in the Cathedral seems rather more archaic than
their period, and the lectern is dated 1459. It is probably the work of
Antonio da Melaria, who three years later made one exactly like it, with
other things, for the Church of S. Domenico. This was done for Antonia
di Fiordibelli, and the contract shows what were the conditions under
which such work was done. He was given 50 lire at once to buy material
with, 50 when he began working, 50 when he had finished a third of the
work, 50 when it was half done, 50 more when three-quarters was
finished, and the rest of the whole price of 336 lire when it was
completed. He was to use wood of Piella, and give 48 planks to the
lady--a very curious clause in the contract.

At Città di Castello there are tarsie designed by Raffaello da Colle in
the Cathedral.

The choir stalls at the Certosa, Pavia, were made by Bartolommeo Poli,
surnamed dalla Polla, from designs by Borgognone, as is said, and the
style certainly seems to bear out the assertion, though no document has
yet been found directly connecting him with them. They were restored in
1847 by Count Nava with wax and stucco coloured to imitate the missing
pieces of wood. The upper row contains a series of figures of saints
and prophets, and below are exceedingly graceful and flowing arabesques.
A document in the Brera Library notes that in 1490 "Mro. Bartolommeo de
Polli da Mantoa, who made the inlaid choir and the doors of the chapels,
has a right to 8 ducats per door, and also for the wooden pulpits 30
ducats a pulpit." He was the son of Andrea da Mantova, who was born at
Modena, but lived and worked at Mantua, and also with his brother Paolo
in S. Mark's, Venice. The stalls were made between 1486 and 1501, and
are the only work which he is recorded to have executed. A Cremonese,
Pantaleone de' Marchi also worked on these stalls--a relation of the
large family of the Marchi of Crema, perhaps, who worked in S. Petronio,
Bologna, in 1495. The father was named Agostino, and he had six sons,
Giacomo, Nicolo, Taddeo, Biagio, Agostino, and a second Giacomo. The
stalls in the Chapel of S. Sebastian are signed Jacopo de Marchis. Some
stalls by Pantaleone de' Marchi are in the Museum at Berlin, acquired in
1883. They probably came from Bramante's Church, the Madonna of Tirano,
in the Valtelline, which was built in 1505, and where there are still
some remains of seats similar in style. The upper range of panels has a
few half-lengths of saints, landscapes, and the usual open cupboard
doors revealing objects on the shelves within. On the backs of the seats
below are arabesques, and the pilaster panels and divisions between are
also inlaid, as is the cornice. He also worked at Savona.

[Illustration: Plate 21.--_Stalls at the Certosa, Pavia._]

[Illustration: Plate 22.--_Detail of Arabesques, lower seats, Certosa,

_To face page 37._]

One of the best Sienese masters has not yet been mentioned, Antonio
Barili, much of whose work has perished, like that of many other
intarsiatori, an example of which the collectors for the Austrian K.K.
Museum at Vienna have picked up, however, where it may now be seen. He
was born in Siena, August 12, 1453. His first work on his own account
was the choir of the Chapel of S. Giovanni, in the Cathedral, Siena, of
which a few poor remains have escaped the carelessness of the last
century, and are in the Collegiate Church of S. Quirico in Osenna, 26
miles from Siena, on the old Roman road. The contract is dated January
16, 1483, and in it he engages to finish it in about two years. He was
to be paid 50 florins of 4 lire beyond what he expended, and was to go
on working at the rate of 10 florins a month. If he did not finish it in
the given time he was to forfeit 100 florins, except for cause of
infirmity, plague, &c. It was to be valued in the usual manner, and 100
florins was the penalty for the breaking of the contract on either side.
As a matter of fact it took him nearly 20 years to complete. On one of
the panels Barili made a portrait of himself at work, the one referred
to above, now in the K.K. Austrian Museum at Vienna, which shows the
very simple means used by the great intarsiatori. His tools consist of a
folding pocket-knife, a square-handled gouge, and a short-bladed,
long-handled knife, which he holds with the left hand and presses his
shoulder against, so as to use the push of the shoulder in cutting,
while in the right he holds a small pencil, with which he appears to
direct the knife edge. The panel upon which he is at work bears the
inscription, "Hoc ego Antonius Barilis opus c[oe]lo non penicello
excussi. Anno. D., 1502." He works in a window opening with panelled
framing, and behind him a tree spreads across a courtyard against the
sky, upon a branch of which a parrot is seated. Von Tschudi says that
the panel is about 2 feet 10 inches long by 1 foot 9-1/2 inches broad,
and that the woods employed are pear and walnut, oak, maple, box,
mahogany, palisander, and one as hard as birch in texture. A full
description of it as it originally was is appended in a note taken from
Della Valle's "Lettere Senese." It was valued by Fra Giovanni of Verona
at 3990 lire. While this work was in progress he made the benches and
other wood-work in the Cathedral Library for Francesco Piccolomini at a
cost of 2000 lire, and did other work for private persons. Another
great work was the choir of the Certosa of Maggiano, which has entirely
disappeared. He was not only intarsiatore, but was much employed by the
commune on architectural works. In 1484 he was sent to rebuild the
bridge of Buonconvento, broken by a flood of the Ombrone, and in the
same year, with Francesco di Giorgio, and on equal terms with him,
restored the bridge of Macereto. In 1495 he was asked to make designs
and models for a bastion to be erected over against the bridge of
Valiano, taken by the Florentines. Owing to a bad guard being kept this
was taken, and between 1498 and 1500 Barili was sent again to rebuild it
larger and stronger. Finally, in 1503, he was sent to make designs and
models of the new walls for the fortifications of Talamone, an important
coast town. In his intarsias he was helped by his nephew, Giovanni,
whose salary, when working for Leo X. at Rome, was five ducats a month.
He died in 1516.[2]

[Illustration: Plate 23.--_Panel from S. Petronio, Bologna._]

[Illustration: Plate 24.--_Panel from S. Petronio, Bologna._

_To face page 39._]

[Illustration: _To face page 40._

Plate 25.--_Panel from S. Miniato, Florence._]

[Illustration: Plate 26.--_Panel from S. Maria Novella, Florence._

_To face page 42._]

Other names mentioned by Vasari are Baccio Albini and his pupil Girolamo
della Cecca, _pipers to the signoria_, as good intarsiatori who worked
also in ivory when Benedetto da Majano was yet a young man, and
David of Pistoia and Geri of Arezzo, who decorated the choir and pulpit
of S. Agostino in the latter town. Geri also made intarsie for S.
Michele, Arezzo. Milanesi says Girolamo della Cecca was of Volterra,
and calls Baccio, di Andrea Cellini; he was in Hungary in 1480 with his
brother Francesco; they were brothers of Giovanni, who was father of
Benvenuto and piper also. The stalls in S. Miniato, Florence, were made
in 1466 by Francesco Manciatto and Domenico da Gajuolo; but perhaps the
highest point reached by Florentine intarsia is shown by the stalls of
S. Maria Novella, made by Baccio d'Agnolo from Filippino Lippi's
designs. There are 40 stalls and 30 different ornamental fillings; the
capitals, pilasters, and frieze are inlaid, the rest carved; the
execution of figures, scrolls, leaves, and ornamental forms is as near
perfection as may be.

Baccio, or Bartolommeo d'Agnolo Baglioni, was born May 19, 1462. "In his
youth he did very fine intarsia in the choir of S. Maria Novella, in
which are a very fine S. John Baptist and S. Laurence, and also carved
the ornaments in the same place and the organ case"--so says Vasari. The
organ case is no longer there, having been sold in England, but the
stalls still remain. After carving the surroundings of the altar at S.
S. Annunziata, which no longer exist, he went to Rome and studied
architecture, of which Vasari remarks, "the science of which has not
been exercised, for several years back, except by carvers and deceitful
persons, who made profession of understanding perspective without
knowing even the terminology and the first principles" (!) When he
returned to Florence he made triumphal arches of carpentry for the entry
of Leo X. But he still stuck to his shop, in which, especially in the
winter, fine discourses and discussions on art matters were held,
attended at different times by Raffaello, then quite young; by Andrea
Sansovino, il Maiano, il Cronaca, Antonio and Giuliano San Gallo, il
Granaccio, and sometimes, by chance, by Michel Agnolo, and many young
men, both Florentines and strangers. He did a great deal of work for the
great hall of the Palazzo Vecchio in conjunction with others, and the
staircase of the Sala del Dugento. After this he did many architectural
works, palaces and additions to churches, some of which are still
existing. The design of Brunelleschi for the gallery to surround the
dome of the Cathedral having been lost, Baccio was commissioned to make
a fresh one, and a piece of it was put up; but when Michael Angelo came
back from Rome he said it was not large enough in style for the dome; in
fact, he called it a cage for grasshoppers (grilli), and made a design
to replace it himself; as, however, the authorities could not make up
their minds to accept it, and Baccio's work was much blamed, it went no
farther, and was never finished. He died on May 6, 1543, at the age of
83, being still in full possession of his faculties, and leaving three
sons, of whom the second, Giuliano, did a good deal of carving both in
stone and wood, and architectural design, working in conjunction with
Baccio Bandinelli, among which was the choir of the Cathedral of
Florence. Another son, Domenico, showed great promise, but died young.

[Illustration: Plate 27.--_Panel from S. Maria Novella, Florence._

_To face page 44._]

The seats near the high altar at S. Maria Novella, and other things
there were made between 1491 and 1496. The floor of the hall of the
Great Council in the Palazzo Vecchio was begun in 1496, and with other
works there went on till 1503. On October 1, 1502, he engaged to do the
choir of S. Agostino Perugia from Perugino's designs at 1120 florins of
40 bolognini each, but he did not work at it much at that time, since on
June 20, 1532, he made a fresh contract with the monks to continue and
complete the choir of their church. Adamo Rossi gives other curious
details about this work drawn from Perugian records, which are worth
noting. He says that in 1501 Bacciolo d'Agnolo, not having a good design
to show, agreed with the prior Federico di Giuliano in three months'
time to submit two different seats for the choir of S. Agostino, and
confessed to having received 50 broad ducats of gold as part of the
price of the choir and the two stalls mentioned. He also agreed to
return the money if he did not undertake the choir or did not finish it
according to contract. He presented them accordingly, and in 1502 the
contract was signed at 30 florins for each upper seat. Rossi also says
that he finds trace of another Baccio d'Agnolo in the collection of
wills of Pietro Paolo di Lodovico, under date June 11, 1529, and thinks
that the work was done by him. One Baccio was elected capo-maestro of
the Duomo in 1507 together with Giuliano and Antonio da San Gallo and il
Cronaca (Simone del Pollajuolo), and continued in that office until

Rossi also gives other interesting details about the making of various
pieces of joinery in Perugia and their makers, from which I extract the
following:--"In the refectory of S. Agostino two Sienese, Giovanni and
Cristoforo de'Minelli, worked in 1477. The cupboards in the sacristy of
S. Pietro in Casinense were made by Giusto di Francesco of Incisa and
Giovanni di Filippo da Fiesole in 1472. They were bought in Florence,
and are particularly fine and large in their treatment of flowers, &c.
The work was finished with the assistance of Mariotto di Mariotto of
Pesaro, three workmen coming from places at considerable distances from
each other, proving that they wandered about the country a good deal.
The lectern in the same church, which is well inlaid and finely carved,
was made by Battista the Bolognese, Ambrose the Frenchman, and Lorenzo.
The contract was between the abbot and Fra Damiano's brother, Maestro
Stefano di Antoniuolo de' Zambelli da Bergamo, and was for the whole
choir at 30 scudi for each seat, wood being provided. The lectern itself
cost 176 florins, and was finished in 1535. In the Sala del Cambio,
besides Domenico del Tasso's seats, there is a fine door which was made
by Antonio di Benciviene da Mercatello da Massa, for which he was paid
10 florins 93 soldi 6 denari. The orator's desk, the 'ringhiera,' was
made by Antonio di Antonio Masi, the Fleming, though often ascribed to
Mercatello. It was estimated by Eusebio del Bastone as worth 68 florins.
At Assisi the choir of the upper church, which is the most important in
all Italy for the number of its stalls, the mastery of its figure
intarsia, and the elegance of its form, was made by Domenico da S.
Severino, who agreed with the superiors on July 8, 1491, to make it for
770 ducats of gold. It was not finished till 1501, but no payments are
noted in the archives after November 18, 1498. In the lower church two
Sienese worked in 1420, and a Florentine from 1448 to 1471. The choir
of the Cathedral in the same city was made by Giovanni di Piergiacomo,
also of S. Severino, and there is sometimes confusion between the two
artists. The price was 57 florins. On one of the backs is carved the
date 1520. The most ancient piece of joinery in Perugia is that executed
for the Arte della Mercanzia in the 14th century."

[Illustration: Plate 28.--_Panel in Sacristy of S. Pietro in Casinense,

_To face page 46._]

Rossi prints a priced list of joiners' tools, dated November 8, 1496,
which is interesting as showing the small amount of tools and furniture
required in a joiner and intarsiatore's workshop at that period. It runs

     Bernardino di Lazzaro buys from Angelo di Maestro Jacopo, called
     Boldrino, joiner, the underwritten tools and apparatus at the price
     at which they were valued by Master Giovanni da Siena and Ercolano
     di Gabriele of Perugia.

                                                  Florins.   Soldi.

  Two benches,                                       2          0
  Four planes,                                       1          0
  Two screw profiles, one broad and one narrow,      0         40
  Two rules,                                         0         16
  Four straight edges, one large and three small,    0         28
  One outliner for tarsia,                           0          8
  Rods for making cornices,                          0         12
  A cross beam,                                      0          6
  Two compasses, one large and one small,            0         12
  Two rulers,                                        0          5
  Four one-handed little planes,                     0         16
  One two-handed little plane,                       0          8
  Two broad planes,                                  0         12
  Two hollow moulding planes,                        0         12
  Three pieces of unfinished tarsia, and one
    with a wire drawing iron,                        1         30
  Two large squares and one "grafonetto" and
    one little square,                               0          8
  Two old irons for making cornices,                 0          8
  Nine files, large and small, round and
    straight,                                        0         30
  Fifteen "gulfie," large and small,                 0         24
  Three chisels, one glued and one all of iron
    and one "a tiro colla manacha de legusa
    saietta,"                                        0          7
  One small hammer,                                  0         16
  Two arm chairs,                                    0          8
  A big "tenevello,"                                 0         25
  A little anvil,                                    0         20
  A pair of big pincers,                             0         32
  Two little axes,                                   0         20
  A two-handed axe,                                  0         25
  A two-handed saw with a file,                      0         60
  A cutting saw,                                     0         25
  Two stools,                                        0         16
  Nine presses (clamps),                             0         60
  Two cupboards,                                     0         90
  Five pieces of panels, two on the benches
    and three outside,                               0         20
  Three pieces of tarsia frieze and two
    pictures with a box without a lid,               1          0
  A bench to put the tarsia on,                      0         40

The words untranslated are, I suppose, Perugian words. At all events,
they do not appear in the large Italian dictionary edited by Tommaseo
and Bellini.

This Bernardino six years earlier worked as apprentice with Maestro
Mattia da Reggio, and was paid 6 florins 22 soldi for four months. His
name appears in the list of masters of stone and wood.

[Illustration: Plate 29.--_Panel from door of Sala del Cambio, Perugia._

_To face page 48._]

Frederic of Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino, built himself a splendid palace
in that city between the years of 1468 and 1480, which cost 200,000
golden scudi. At that time a sack of corn cost rather less than five
modern Italian lire in the duchy, and a hectolitre of wine only one
franc sixty centimes, and one may gain some idea of the way in which
princes of liberal tastes lavished their money over the production of
works of art by comparing these figures. Among the decorations, which
include much stone carving of the most extraordinary finish, which in
the interior of the palace appears as fresh as the day it was completed,
were some splendidly inlaid doors, eight or nine of which still remain.
The palace was constructed upon the foundations of an older palace of
1350, much enlarged, and here he lived magnificently, and collected that
fine library which was subsequently removed to Rome, of which Vespasiano
da Bisticci, the Florentine bookseller, who had a good deal to do with
it, says that it was the most perfect that he knew, for in others there
were either gaps or duplicates, from which defects it was free.
Castiglione's "Cortigiano," the ideal of a courtier in those days,
describes the Court of Urbino as it was under Guidobaldo, his son and
successor. Among the decorations of the palace which still remain is the
panelling of a small studio on the _piano nobile_, close to the tiny
chapel, which is entirely surrounded by intarsia of the finest
description, which represents in the lower part a seat something like
the misereres of choir stalls surrounding the apartment, some parts of
which are raised and some lowered. In the spaces rest some portions of
the duke's arms, a sword, a mace, &c., leaning in the corners, and on
the lower parts of the seat are musical instruments, fruits and
sweetmeats in dishes, cushions, books, &c. The upper panels show
cupboards with doors partly open, showing all sorts of things within in
the usual fashion, and there are four figure panels inserted at
intervals containing the portrait of the duke and the Christian virtues
of Faith, Hope, and Charity which he strove to exemplify in his life. At
one end of the room are two recesses divided by a projecting pier; in
the one to the left the armour of the duke is represented as hanging
piece by piece on the wall, in that on the right is shown his reading
desk, made to turn on a pivot, with books upon it and around, and on the
pier between, a landscape, seen through an arcade with a terrace in
front, upon which are a squirrel and a basket of fruit. Close to the
reading desk is a representation of an organ with a seat in front of it,
upon which is a cushion covered with brocade or cut velvet, which is
most realistic, and on the organ is the name Johan Castellano, which is
supposed to be the name of the intarsiatore, though this name does not
appear in the accounts. The custodian called him a Bergamase, I do not
know on what authority. The designs of the figures are ascribed to
Botticelli, and some of them look as if the ascription might possibly be
correct. The only names of intarsiatori found in the ducal accounts are
Beneivegni da Mercatello, who worked in the Sala del Cambio at Perugia,
and no doubt had to do with the making of the doors, which resemble that
work, and perhaps a Taddeo da Rovigno, the town from which the Olivetan
Fra Sebastian came. Pungileone, however, found a payment of seven
florins in 1473 to "Maestro Giacomo, from Florence, on account of
intarsia for the audience hall." Dennistoun says that this study
contained "arm-chairs encircling a table all mosaicked with tarsia, and
carved by Maestro Giacomo of Florence," but it is now quite bare,
though, fortunately, the tarsie are well preserved. He goes on to say
that "on each compartment of the panelling was the portrait of some
famous author and an appropriate distich," which leads one to suppose
either that his information was inaccurate or that he was referring to
the similar small study on the lower floor, in which Timoteto delle Vite
did some painting.

The duke and his son Guidobaldo were both great builders, and Urbino was
not the only town in which they raised palaces, though the others were
not of so much importance. The names by which they were denominated show
this. It is always the _corte_ at Urbino, at Pesaro it is the _palazzo_,
and at Gubbio the modest _casa_. Nevertheless, at this last place the
intarsias were of almost as great importance, though now the palace is
ruinous and the intarsias dispersed, some of them being at South
Kensington. Dennistoun quotes descriptions from Sig. Luigi Bonfatti and
Mr. F. C. Brooke, which are worth reproducing, as showing the care some
times expended on the decoration of quite small apartments. This study,
which was commissioned by Duke Guidobaldo, is only 13 by 6-1/2 feet in
plan, though it is 19 feet high. The inlaid work only went half-way up,
as at Urbino, the upper part of the walls having been covered with
tapestries. The tarsie showed "emblematic representations of music,
literature, physical science, geography, and war; bookcases, or rather
cupboards, with their contents, among which were a ship, a tambourine,
military weapons, a cage with a parrot in it, and as if for the sake of
variety only, a few volumes of books, over one of which, containing
music, with the word 'Rosabella' inscribed on its pages, was suspended
a crucifix. On the central case opposite the window, and occupying as it
were the place of honour, was the garter, with its motto, 'Honi soit q.
mal i pense,' a device which was sculptured on the exterior of the stone
architrave of the door of this apartment. It appeared again in tarsia in
the recess of the window, where might also be seen, within circles, 'G.
Ubaldo Dx. and Fe Dux.' Amongst the devices was the crane standing on
one leg, and holding, with the foot of the other, which is raised, the
stone he is to drop as a signal of alarm to his companions. Among other
feigned contents of a bookcase were an hour-glass, guitar, and pair of
compasses; in another were seen a dagger, dried fruits in a small basket
made of thin wood, and a tankard, while in a third was represented an
open book surmounted with the name of Guidobaldo, who probably made the
selection inscribed on the two pages of the volume, comprising verses
457-491 of the tenth Æneid." On the cornice was an inscription. It was
thought to be the work of Antonio Mastei of Gubbio, a famous artist in
wood, who executed the choir of S. Fortunato at Todi, and who is known
to have been much in favour with Dukes Guidobaldo and Francesco Maria
I., the latter of whom gave him an exemption from imposts.

In the 17th century tarsia was more used for domestic furniture than
for stationary decoration. The character of the design changed in
consequence, and mother-of-pearl, ivory, tortoiseshell, silver, and
other materials were used. The first Tuscan, or one of the first who did
so was Andrea Massari of Siena. A few works in tarsia were still
executed, but none of much importance. The choir of S. Sigismondo,
outside Cremona, commenced by Gabriel Capra and finished by his son
Domenico in 1605, is one of the principal, and the choir of S.
Francesco, Perugia, where Fortebraccio was buried, but this latter no
longer exists. Marquetry was produced in Florence, Venice, Milan, and
Genoa down to a still later date, but the fashion for ivory and ebony
carried all before it. The Italian work of this kind is often most
beautifully engraved, but less accurate than that produced in France.
The later Italian marquetry does not lose decorative effect though the
figure drawing becomes very conventional, and the curves of ornament are
often cut with a mechanical sweep. A good deal of it is in only two
colours, a return to the simplicity of earlier days.


[2] There were nineteen subjects, divided by channelled pilasters with a
carved frieze, above a bench which ran round the circular wall from one
doorpost to the other, the whole work crowned with a cornice also carved
with foliated ornament. The first subject on the right was an open
cupboard with architects' and joiners' tools. The second was the
portrait described above. The third showed a cupboard half open, worked
with a grille of pierced almond shapes and divided. "In the upper part
is a naked boy, standing with a ball in his left hand, below is a large
circle with a bridge within and without in the form of a diamond. Within
the closed part of the grille one sees a ewer above and a basin below.
The fourth is a figure of S. Ansano, half-length, below whom is the head
of a man who receives baptism with joined hands, and the saint with a
vase in his hand pours water on his head, holding in his right hand a
standard. The fifth shows a cupboard open and shelved in the
middle--above is a chalice and paten, below is a salver with fruit
within and falling from it. The sixth contains an organ case with a man
who, with raised head, enjoys the sweetness of the sounds, on the side
of the organ are the arms of the Opera and below are the arms of the
rector Arringhieri. The seventh is a cupboard half open with pierced
doors, in the upper half a censer, and an incense boat, with a label
above with these words, 'Dirigatur Domine oratio mea sicut incensum in
conspectu tuo.' Below is the holy water pot with the sprinkler within,
and with a pair of sacrament cruets. The eighth shows the figure of a
man with a glory and a diadem on his head, with face and right arm
raised to heaven, representing whom I do not understand; above him is a
garden full of different flowers and trees. The ninth is a cupboard cut
across and half open; in the upper part a label with these words 'Qui
post me venit, ante me factus est. Cujus non sum dignus calceamente
solvere;' below are different musical instruments, the words above are
set to plain song. The tenth, that is the centre one, is a half-length
of S. John Baptist with the cross in his left hand, and in the right a
label with the words, 'Ecce Agnus Dei,' while with his finger he points
to Christ in a figure which represents him. The eleventh shows another
cupboard half open and shelved, above is a label on which are some lines
of the hymn of S. John Baptist, with notes in plain song and with the
name of the author above, which was Alessandro Agricola, and below is a
flute and a violin with its bow. The twelfth is the figure of a young
man with a label below which says, 'Johannis Baptistæ discipulus.' This
is generally thought to represent S. Andrew the apostle. The thirteenth
is another open cupboard with a shelf. In the upper part is a chalice
and more fruit, and in the lower a hollow dish with a foot also full of
fruit. The fourteenth shows the half-length of a man who plays a lute,
above him appears a garden with different trees. The fifteenth is a
cupboard with open division, with a little gate and grating with almond
shaped openings, above is a candlestick with a candle half burnt, and
below is a box full of yellow tapers. The sixteenth represents S.
Catherine with her wheel, half-length, disputing with the tyrant, before
her is an open book on which are cut these words, 'Catharina
disputationis virginitatis ac martirii palmam reportat.' The seventeenth
shows a cupboard divided and half closed, with a grating like the
others, above is a missal laid down, with a chalice upright, and a paten
on the missal, and there are also a pair of spectacles and another paten
leaning against the wall, below there is a closed book which seems to be
a breviary, upon which is an open book with these words, 'Ecce mitto
angelum meum ante faciem tuam, qui preparabit viam tuam ante te. Vox
clamantis in deserto; parate viam Domini: rectas facite semitas ejus.'
The eighteenth shows a fine gate through which one sees a garden, within
which appear different trees with fruit on them, and at the bottom is a
little table upon which is an inkstand with a pen and a penknife with a
label which issues from the inkstand with these words, 'Alberto
Aringherio operaio fabre factum.' The last panel shows an open cupboard
with shelf and grating, above is a harp and below is a violin and other
musical instruments. The rector Arringhieri paid 4090 scudi for the work
as a matter of compromise on the valuing of Fra Giovanni da Verona. It
was in so dark a place that it could not be seen except with lighted
torches, and it was also damaged because it was put in a newly built
place, the walls of which were not sufficiently dry to receive such
delicate work." This account was written in 1786.


The Order of the Olivetans took its rise from the piety and liberality
of a Sienese noble, Bernardo Tolomei, who, with two companions, Ambrogio
Piccolomini and Patricio Patrizzi, established himself as a hermit on a
barren point of land at Chiusuri, some miles from Siena, in the same
manner as did S. Benedict at Subiaco. This was in 1312, but the Papal
charter by which the Order was founded dates from 1319. It was called
"Monte Oliveto," from a vision seen by Guido Tarlati, Bishop of Arezzo,
the Papal commissary, in which the Virgin ordered that the monks should
have a white habit, and that the badge of the Order should be three
hills surmounted by a branch of olive. It was a branch of the
Benedictines, and, like them, the monks devoted their lives to useful
labours. As Michele Caffi says, "The Olivetans did not strive in
political or party struggles, but spent their simple lives in works of
charity and industry, and showing great talent for working in wood
succeeded to the heirship of the art of tarsia in coloured woods, which
they got from Tuscany."

The first master of intarsia mentioned among the Olivetan monks is a
certain lay brother, "laico Olivetano," who came from Tuscany in the
first half of the fifteenth century, and taught the art to the monks of
S. Elena, the island which lies just beyond the Public Gardens at
Venice, and was so beautiful before the iron foundry was established
upon it. His principal pupil was Fra Sebastiano of Rovigno, known as the
"Zoppo Schiavone," the lame Slavonian, who taught Fra Giovanni da Verona
and Domenico Zambello of Bergamo, Fra Damiano. Fra Giovanni, again, was
master to Vincenzo dalle Vacche and Raffaello da Brescia, and perhaps to
the oblate of S. Elena, Antonio Preposito, in 1493.

Fra Sebastiano da Rovigno was probably born in 1420. The register of
professions and deaths at Monte Oliveto Maggiore says--"In conventu
Paduæ professus est sub die 15 Augusti, an 1461, fr: Sebastianus de
Rovinio"; his death is shown by another extract--"Venetiis, obiit in
Mon. S. Helenæ, anno Domini, 1505, fr: Sebastianus de Histria,
conversus" (lay brother). He was at S. Maria in Organo, in 1464-5 and
1468-9, and at S. Elena in 1479-80-81, and again from 1484 to 1494. He
was also at Monte Oliveto 1466-7, 1474-5, and 1482-3, and at S. Michele
in Bosco, Bologna, from 1494 till shortly before his death, in all of
which places were important works in tarsia. The inscription in the
corner of the sacristy at S. Elena runs thus:--"Extremus hic mortalium
operum fr: Sebastianus de Ruigno Montis Oliveti, qui III. id: Sept: diem
obiit, 1505." Some of his work is in the stalls and sacristy cupboards
of S. Marco, signed C.S.S., or S.S.C., that is, "Converso Sebastiano
Schiavone," or "Seb: Sch: converso." His pupil Fra Giovanni da Verona
was one of the most celebrated of the carvers and intarsiatori, and left
works in many places in Italy. He was born in Verona in 1457, and no one
has been able to discover either his family name nor who his father was.
When still a boy he left his native town and went into Tuscany to Monte
Oliveto di Chiusuri of Siena, the principal monastery of the Olivetan
order. He may perhaps have gone with Liberale of Verona, who was of
about the same age, the first time he went to Monte Oliveto, in 1467, or
more probably on the second occasion, in 1474, his business being to
illuminate the choir books. In the administration books of that convent
it is recorded that in 1467 Liberale had as assistant a certain
Bernardino, and in 1474 another whose name is not mentioned. This may
have been Fra Giovanni, who might then have learnt to illuminate, which
was his first profession, and in which he succeeded excellently. He
resolved to "profess religion" about this time, and was received as
novice in the beginning of 1475. The year of noviciate being passed he
made his solemn profession on March 25, 1476, and remained for about
four years more in the monastery, during which time he finished his
studies and became priest. In 1480 he was sent for a short time to the
monastery of S. Elena, near Venice. Here he found the lay brother Fra
Sebastiano da Rovigno, whom he may perhaps have known before, since they
were both at Monte Oliveto in 1475. At all events he spoke to him about
learning his art, and finding him willing to teach him, "set about it
with so much diligence and assiduity that he was soon able to give him
valuable assistance." The work was on the cupboards of the sacristy and
on the backs of the choir stalls, which were 34 in number. On these the
principal cities of the world, as they then were, were drawn in
perspective "with great beauty and cleverness." About 1485 he went to an
abbey of Olivetan monks at Villanova, a small village in lower Lombardy,
where he illuminated 20 choral books with heads of saints and prophets,
with very beautiful borders of flowers, fruits, and animals. These were
sold by an ignorant and greedy priest for 17 zecchins, and only a few
of the miniatures have been recovered, which are now kept in the
sacristy. Of them, Vincenzo Sabbia, the Olivetan abbot, who was
"confratello di religione" and nearly contemporary, says, when
describing the abbey and its treasures in 1594, that there are there
"stupendous and wonderful choral books to the number of twenty, made
about the year 1485, and rare and wonderful miniatures are among the
letters, like lovely flowers in a delicious garden, and many most
beautiful imaginings, heads of saints and of all the ancient prophets,
and other wonderful things of like kind, made and illuminated by that
celebrated Fra Giovanni da Verona, around the text."

[Illustration: Plate 30.--_Panel from lower row of Stalls, S. Maria in
Organo, Verona._

_To face page 59._]

[Illustration: Plate 31.--_Panels from Monte Oliveto Maggiore, now in
the Cathedral, Siena._

_To face page 60._]

In 1490 he was summoned to the Certosa at Pavia to estimate the value of
the stalls made by Bartolommeo dei Polli, in company with Giacomo dei
Crocefissi and Cristoforo de' Rocchi. Except for these there are no
notices of the work which he must have done till 1502, when the abbot
and monks of Monte Oliveto Maggiore, having determined to renew the
choir of their church, confided the work to Fra Giovanni, and
necessarily recalled him. He worked with so much enthusiasm that in
three years he entirely completed them "to his great repute and with no
less satisfaction to the monks." "The whole comprised 52 stalls, with
their backs, seats and arm rests, kneelers and all things appertaining"
(it now consists of 48 stalls and 47 pictures), and the panels of the
backs were worked in tarsia with perspective views "beautiful to a
marvel," where were figured houses, views of the country, cupboards,
grilles, sacred utensils, and other fancies. In the early years of the
19th century 38 of these perspectives were moved to Siena and placed in
the Cathedral, where they now are. Another choir, smaller but not less
beautiful, was made for the church of the Olivetan monastery of S.
Benedetto fuori della Porta at Tufi, near Siena. This church is in
ruins; 31 perspectives from the choir were sent to fill the gaps in
Monte Oliveto Maggiore, the monks who returned after the revocation of
the suppression in 1813 having appealed to the Archbishop to allow them
to take them. Four of the ancient backs were found in a corner of the
sacristy, and eight carried to Siena and found superfluous were
returned, as well as one which a neighbouring villager had taken. Some
of them show the conventual buildings as they were at the beginning of
the 16th century. The frames resemble friezes, and are decorated with
flowers, fruit, birds, musical instruments, arms, and ornament. Each
back is separated from the next by a colonnette carved with delicate
arabesques. In this choir is also an Easter candlestick much like that
at S. Maria in Organo, Verona, and there are two doors which belonged
to the library. Pope Julius II. called him to Rome in 1571, and
commissioned the ornamentation of the Camera della Segnatura in the
Vatican, the designs for which are ascribed to Raffaelle, not only the
seat backs with their seats, but also the doors, all worked with
perspectives, "in which he succeeded so well that he gained great favour
with the pontiff." Then he went to Naples and did the same sort of
carving and intarsia in the sacristy of the choir of the chapel of Paolo
Tolosa, in the church of Monte Oliveto in that city, works not less
successful and lauded than those of Siena and Rome. This church is now
called that of S. Anna dei Lombardi. The tarsie in the sacristy are in a
later setting, and include nine panels of perspectives of landscapes,
buildings, &c., nine others showing cupboards with objects on the
shelves, and one with a figure of an abbot around which the following
inscription runs:--


The work is exceedingly delicate, pieces of wood no thicker than a thick
pencil line being often used. In one panel is a well-executed lily, in
another a hare is a foreground figure, in another are an owl and a
bullfinch, while a hoopoe appears in another, with mountains behind
him. The objects on the shelves of the cupboards are turned at queer
angles to show his skill in perspective, but, since they lack tone, do
not appear quite accurate. Among the architectural subjects are the
choir of a church, a harbour, and a castle on a hill, seen from a
balustraded terrace, and a circular building a little like that in the
background of Raffaelle's "Sposalizio." They were well restored in 1860
by C. G. Minchiotti. In the monks' choir in the church are other
intarsie said to be by Angelo da Verona, Giovanni's brother. They are
principally arabesques, somewhat resembling the panels in the Cathedral
at Genoa, but include four figure panels of little angels and an
Annunciation in two panels, which are not without charm, though rather

[Illustration: Plate 32.--_Frieze from Monte Oliveto Maggiore._

_To face page 62._]

In his last years he returned to Verona, where he had made the monks'
choir in S. Maria in Organo, and the cupboards of the sacristy. These
have the reputation of being not only the finest of the period but also
the best which came from his hand. The Adige was in this church for two
months during one of the inundations, but the tarsie did not suffer so
much as might have been expected. He accepted a commission in 1523 for
some stalls for the Olivetan church at Lodi, S. Cristopher, eleven of
which are now in the suburban church of S. Bernardino in that city,
but died before they were completed. Vincenzo Sabbia writes of
these:--"In the year 1523 the reverend father Fra Filippo Villani of
Lodi, prior of the convent of S. Cristoforo in that city, agreed with
Fra Giovanni Veronese, an excellent master of perspective, to make him
35 pictures of perspective at the rate of 30 or 40 broad ducats of gold
for each--which are worth 5 lire 4 soldi each--which were to be finished
in two or three years, and 300 broad ducats of gold were counted out to
him. The said brother was not able to finish more than 23, because he
died on February 10, 1525. They were sent from Verona and taken to Lodi,
and in 1586 the new church of S. Cristoforo being finished, Don
Agostino, the prior, who had charge of the fabric, had the aforesaid 23
pictures with their ornaments set in the choir by the hand of Paolo
Sasono." He died in the 68th year of his age, and was buried in S. Maria
in Organo. He is called "prior" in a chronicle of the monastery under
date 1511, and in the list of dead. In his portrait in the sacristy, by
Caroto, he is represented with the tonsure and with the hood and cowl of
the form which was proper to monks who were constituted "in sacris."

Fra Raffaello da Brescia, whose name was Roberto Marone, was born in
1477. His father's name was Pietro Marone, and his mother was a
Venetian, named Cecilia Tiepolo. When twenty-two years old he took the
monastic habit as a lay brother in the convent of S. Nicolò di Rodengo,
near Brescia, and a little later (in 1502) was sent to Monte Oliveto
Maggiore. Fra Giovanni being then established there as "conventual
brother," took young Marone and taught him, seeing that he had both
liking and talent for the work, so that he soon became a clever workman.
Between 1504 and 1507 he worked with him at the choir of Monte Oliveto,
from 1506 to 1510 he was with him at Naples, when the famous sacristy
panels were being executed, and in 1511 and 1512 he was at S. Nicolò di
Rodengo, where he worked at the choir of that church. The lectern from
Rodengo is now in the Galleria Tosi at Brescia; the inlays are in the
lower portion, and show architectural compositions in perspective and
the usual objects, such as a censer, an open book, &c. It is signed
F.R.B. In 1513 Raffaello commenced the magnificent choir of S. Michaele
in Bosco, Bologna, and here he also made the design for the campanile,
which was built by Maestro Pedrino di Como, showing that like so many of
the intarsiatori he was no mere worker in wood. While this work was in
progress he executed a lectern for Monte Oliveto, ordered by the abbot
Barnaba Cevenini, who was a Bolognese. It is signed and dated 1520, and
shows on each side a choir book open, with notes of music and words. In
one of the lower panels a black cat symbolises fidelity.

S. Michele in Bosco was among the largest of the Olivetan convents. The
Benedictines entered into possession in 1364, but these buildings were
destroyed by the Bolognese in 1430, "so that they might not give shelter
and a base for hostilities to the soldiers of Martin V." The
re-construction began in 1437. The choir was raised on several steps,
and called "Il Paradiso," ten years later, but subsequent alterations
have left very little of the original work visible. Raffaello's stalls
were probably finished in 1521, that being the date on a panel which was
formerly in the centre of the choir. Of these splendid works only two
confessionals still remain in the church. At the time of the suppression
of the convents at the end of the 18th century the populace, drunk with
rapine and devastation, tore down these stalls, and they were sold for a
few pence to the Bolognese marine store dealers and rag merchants. Only
18 of the principal row were saved from destruction, the Marquis Antonio
Malvezzi buying them in 1812, and having them restored and placed in the
chapel of his family in S. Petronio (now the chapel of the Holy
Sacrament), where they now are. He was not able to save the hoods and
shell canopies, which were sold for firewood for 4 baiocchi each! (about
two pence.) The designs are of the usual style, cupboards and various
objects in perspective; one of the finest is the first on the left,
which includes a fine sphere and sundial, and several books written in
German letters, black and red, a chalice in a cupboard, two books, and a
cross. In the seventh is the figure of Pope Gregory in the act of
blessing, and the last on the right shows loggias and porticoes of good
style, well put in perspective. With part of the tarsie from S. Michele
pianoforte cases were made, other portions were used for the floor of
the Casino, near the theatre of the Corso, and were worn to pieces by
the feet of the dancers! In 1525 Fra Raffaello went to Rome, and no
further notices of him or of his work occur till his death there in
1537; he was buried in S. Maria in Campo Santo.

Another somewhat similar set of stalls, though rather later in date,
also at Bologna, are the upper row in the choir of S. Giovanni in Monte,
which have on their backs intarsie representing monuments, fantastic
battlemented buildings, musical instruments, and geometrical motives,
all executed with a mastery which reveals an artist old at the work.
They recall in their general effect those in S. Prospero at Reggio, in
the Emilia, which were executed by the brothers Mantelli in 1546. They
are set in a carved framing of arches divided by pilasters which
terminate above in brackets which support the cornice. The pilasters
rest on the arms which divide the seats. Champeaux says they were made
by Paolo del Sacha.

The tarsie in S. Mark's, Venice, were worked by Fra Vincenzo da Verona,
another Olivetan, under whom was Fra Pietro da Padova, Jesuit, with two
youths to assist them. The commission was given in 1523. Three rooms in
the hospital of "Messer Jesu Cristo" were assigned him as workshops, and
100 ducats for food and clothing, as stated in the registers of the
procurators of S. Mark's. On January 15, 1524, they inspected the work
done, and were not satisfied, and so suspended it, "praising,
nevertheless, the manners and the life of Fra Vincenzo." According to
Cicogna, the registers contained, under date April 7, 1526, a note of
money paid to "Fra Vincenzio, of the order of the Jesuits, for the
finishing of the works of inlay" in the choir of S. Marco. On February
25, 1537, certain moneys were given to more workmen for the construction
of the doge's seat, which is said to have been "a great thing full of
artistic pangs" (!), and rather hindered the genuflections to the
altar. This was made for Andrea Gritti, who was doge that year. This Fra
Vincenzo da Verona, or Vincenzo dalla Vacche, is mentioned by Morello in
his "Notizie" as excellent, especially in his work at S. Benedetto
Novello at Padua, four panels from which are now in the Louvre. He
became novice in 1492, "Conventuale" of Monte Oliveto in 1498, was a
priest like Fra Giovanni, and lived almost all his life in his native
city. He died in 1531. The tarsie in the presbytery at S. Marco consist
of seven great compartments, five lesser, and thirteen which are small.
The eighteen smaller compartments are panels of ornament. The others are
figure subjects, but by more than one hand. First comes a figure of S.
Mark with a lion at his feet, which is not very good (it was restored in
1848-50 by Antonio Camusso); next, a figure of Charity side by side with
one of Justice, a woman with a baby, and one holding the balances. Next
comes a figure of Strength or Courage, older and rougher in character,
then four ornamental panels, a door, and five others, also of ornament.
The next panel in the corner bears date 1535, to which year the figures
of Justice and Charity may be assigned. The other figures are Prudence
and Temperance, the latter of which resembles Strength in character. The
remaining subject, a Pietà, is like Charity and Justice, and is
masterly. Three spaces are empty. The doge's seat, until the fall of the
Republic, was on the right of the principal entrance to the choir, as
Sansovino says. It had on its back a figure of Justice, now in the Museo
Civico. He also says that Sebastiano Schiavone did these tarsie, but he
died in 1505. Various initials appear here and there through the work;
on each side of the figure of S. Mark are U.F.Q. and M.S.R. in
cartouches, Charity and Justice have N. and P. at the sides, and
Prudence has P.S.S. and S.S.C. attached to her. The panels of ornament
seem to be of the same period as the figure of Charity.

[Illustration: Plate 33.--_Panel from S. Mark's, Venice._

_To face page 68._]

Fra Damiano of Bergamo, Fra Giovanni's fellow-pupil, attained, if
possible, even greater reputation. He was considered the finest artist
in tarsia of his time, he having, "with his woods, coloured to a marvel,
raised the art to the rank of real painting." His family name was
Zambello, he is thought to have been born about 1490, and he became a
Dominican monk. An anonymous MS. of the 16th century, published by
Morelli, calls him a pupil of a Slavonian, that is, Illyrian, brother of
Venice, Fra Sebastiano da Rovigno. He passed the greater part of his
life at Bologna, in the Dominican cloister there, into which he was
admitted in 1528. In the records of the convent for that year occurs the
note, "Frater Damianus de Bergomo, homo peritissimus, singularissimus,
et unicus in l'arte della tarsia, conversus, receptatus fuit in filium
conventus." At S. Domenico the choir stalls were his first work; he did
seven, containing fourteen subjects and seven heads of saints. These
were finished in 1530, and in consequence of their success he was
commissioned to complete the choir. He carried the tinting of the wood
farther than Fra Giovanni did, using solutions of sublimate of mercury,
of arsenic, and what they called oil of sulphur. He is said to have had
Vignola's designs for the architectural parts.

Charles the Fifth was in Bologna with Clement VII., and was crowned
Emperor in S. Petronio on December 5, 1529. One day he was in S.
Domenico admiring the works of art, and, doubting that the tarsie were
made of tinted wood, as he was told, drew his rapier and cut a bit out
of one of the panels, which has always remained in the state in which he
left it in memory of his act. Desiring to see how the work was done he
determined to visit Fra Damiano's studio. Accordingly, on March 7, 1530,
he took with him Alfonso d'Este, Duke of Ferrara, and several princes of
his escort, and went to the convent, when, being conducted to Fra
Damiano's poor cell, he knocked at the door. The friar, having opened
and allowed the Emperor to enter, shut it quickly. "Stay," said the
Emperor, "that is the Duke of Ferrara, who follows me." "I know him,"
answered Fra Damiano, "and that is why I will never let him enter my
cell." "And why?" said Charles V.; "have you anything of his doing to
complain of then?" "Listen, your majesty," answered the lay brother. "I
had to come from Bergamo to Bologna to undertake the work of this choir.
I had with me these tools which you see, few in number, but necessary
for the work in which it is my study to worthily spend my life, and to
delight in the art. I had scarcely touched the frontiers of Ferrara when
they not only obliged me, a poor friar, to pay a heavy and unjust tax,
but the manner of doing it was most offensive. Now, while that duke
allows such roguery in his State, it is right that he should not see
this work which you see." Charles smiled, and promised to obtain from
Duke Alfonso the amplest satisfaction. Going out of the cell he told the
duke the reason of Fra Damiano's anger, and he not only promised to
repay the loss which he had suffered, but conceded a patent to him, by
which he and his pupils were for ever free from any tax or duty when
crossing the duchy of Ferrara. Then they all came laughing and joking
into the cell, and Fra Damiano, to show them that his tarsie were not
painted with a brush took a little plane and passed it over a panel with
some force, showing how the colours, after that treatment, still
retained their integrity and beauty. And then he gave the Emperor a most
beautiful piece of the Crucifixion, and another to the Duke of Ferrara,
who valued it greatly. Locatelli gives some conversations between Fra
Damiano and his assistant Zanetto, which must have preceded this visit,
which are worth recording for their racy expression, according well with
his reported action. "If it were in my power I would nail up this door
for Charles and for all the dukes of the world. This art which I
exercise is exceeding dear to me, and I hate to have to do with these
signori who manage things after their own fashion; and sad it is for
those who have to endure it. I respect His Majesty the Emperor, and hold
him to be a great man, but the fate of Rome sticks in my throat. That
other, too, who accompanies him--" "Who?" interrupted Zanetto, "the
Pope?" "Oh, rubbish; the Pope! The Duke of Ferrara. With him I have a
special account, and he must not come here." He also adds the detail
that Fra Damiano had no money with him, and had to go about begging for
wherewithal to pay the duke's dues till he blushed.

From 1530 to 1534 he worked at a great piece of panelling to be placed
in the chapel of the "arca," the tomb of S. Dominic, which is now in the
sacristy, and thought by some to be his masterpiece. There are eight
cupboards in this, and on each are eight subjects. In 1534 the Order was
so poor that such expenses were stopped. Seven years later the work was
recommenced and finished in 1550 by Fra Bernardino and Fra Antonio da
Lunigiano a few months after Fra Damiano's death, which occurred on
August 30, 1549. The choir consists of a double row of 28 stalls on each
side, making 112 in all, showing on the right subjects from the New, and
on the left from the Old Testament. Those on the right are the best, and
are probably Fra Damiano's own work. He had as assistants at one time
Zanetto da Bergamo, Francesco di Lorenzo Zambelli, and a lay brother,
Fra Bernardino, who afterwards did the sacristy door. At another time
his brother Stefano helped him, together with Zampiero da Padova, Fra
Antonio Asinelis, the brothers Capo di Ferro of Lovere, Pietro di
Maffeis, Giovanni and Alessandro Belli. The choir of S. Domenico cost
2809 scudi. Henry II. of France commissioned a little chapel from him
with an altar-piece, for his reputation had crossed the Alps, and
Cardinal Salviati and Paul III., the Farnese Pope, also wished for his
work, as did the Benedictine monks of S. Pietro in Casinense, at
Perugia. He did for them a two-leaved door, which cost 120 scudi, now
placed at the back of the choir, and opening on to a balcony, from which
one sees, in fine weather, as far as the Castle of Spoleto. There are
four subjects, two on each leaf; the Annunciation illustrated is one of
them. Sabba Castiglione uses the most enthusiastic language about him
and his work. "But, above all, those who can obtain them decorate their
mansions with the works, rather divine than human, of Fra Damiano, who
excelled not only in perspectives, like those other worthy masters, but
in landscapes, in backgrounds, and what is yet more, in figures; and who
effected in wood as much as the great Apelles did with his pencil. I
even think that the colours of these woods are more vivid, brilliant,
and beautiful than those used by painters, so that these most excellent
works may be considered as a new style of painting without colours, a
thing much to be wondered at. And what adds to the marvel is, that
though these works are executed with inlaid pieces the eye cannot even
by the greatest exertion detect the joints." He then goes on in the same
grandiloquent strain--"This good father in dyeing woods in any colour
that you may wish, and in imitation of spotted and marbled stones, as
he has been unique in our century, so I think that he will be without
equal in the future; it is certain that our Lord God has lent him grace,
as I believe, because he wished so much that things might be well ended,
to put his final work on the work of S. Domenico of Bologna. I think,
indeed I am certain, that it will be called the eighth wonder of the
world; and as the Babylonians, the Assyrians, the Egyptians, and the
Greeks boasted of their temples, pyramids, colossi, and sepulchres, thus
happy Bologna will be able to glory in and to boast of the choir of S.
Domenico. And because I do not wish that the love and affection that I
bear to my most excellent father should make me to be considered a
flatterer (!), a thing far from me, and especially with friends about
whom I always speak the truth, I say no more; yet all that which I could
say would be little enough on the merit of his rare and singular virtue,
and on the goodness of his religious and holy life." Fra Leandro
Alberti, in his description of Italy, speaks in something the same
manner--"Frate Damiano, lay brother of the Order of Preachers, has
become a man of as much genius as is to be found in the whole world at
present, in putting together woods with so much art that they appear
pictures made with a brush."

[Illustration: Plate 34.--_Panel from door in Choir of S. Pietro in
Casinense, Perugia._

_To face page 74._]

A few stalls made by him are now in the church of S. Bartolommeo,
Bergamo, which were brought from the Dominican church of S. Stefano,
destroyed for the fortifications in 1561. The designs were made by Trozo
da Monza, Bernardo da Trevi (? Treviglio), and Bramantino. As Locatelli
says, they preceded the famous choir at Bologna, and show the master
trying his wings. Some think that his best works are those in which he
did not employ colour, but only shading, but general opinion considers
his highest point was reached in the doors of S. Pietro in Casinense.

Another Dominican intarsiatore was Fra Antonio da Viterbo, who, in 1437,
made the doors of S. Peter's at Rome by order of Eugenius IV., which
were subsequently destroyed by Paul V. He was paid 800 ducats of gold
before the Pope died, when they were nearly finished. They were both
inlaid and carved in the most elaborate fashion, as the list of subjects
shows:--The Saviour, the Blessed Virgin, SS. Peter and Paul, and
Eugenius on his knees, the martyrdom of SS. Peter and Paul, S.
Plautilla, who received the borrowed veil from S. Paul; the Coronation
of the Emperor Sigismund in S. Peter's in 1433 by Eugenius, "and there
you see the Prefect of Rome holding the sword before him, their march
through Rome, the union of the Greek Church with the Latin, the entry
of the ambassador from the King of Ethiopia, and other histories of the
time." He had two assistants, Valentine and Leonardo.

[Illustration: _To face page 77._ Plate 35.--_Lunette from Stalls in
Cathedral, Genoa._]

The choir stalls in the Cathedral at Genoa are attributed to Francesco
Zambelli of Bergamo, a relative of Fra Damiano. He was helped by Anselmo
de' Fornari, Andrea and Elia della Rocca, Giovanni Michele de
Pantaleone, and Giovanni Piccardo, who had already worked in the choir
of the Cathedral of Savona. The contract is still extant by which
Francesco di Zambelli of Bergamo undertakes to make them with three of
the procurators for the building and ornamentation of San Lorenzo, dated
April 12, 1540. He agrees to get to work not later than the first of
September next, and to stay in the city till the work is done. Nor must
he undertake other work under a penalty of 100 scudi, which he is to pay
in such case without demur or defence. The procurators agree to pay for
every picture, with its frame, according to the design furnished to him,
and they also promise to provide lodgings for himself and his family
without any expense to him, and to give him a present when the work is
finished. On the same day his relative, Fra Damiano, promises to make
two pictures, one for the seat of the archbishop and one for the doge,
to be ready by Christmas Day next, to be paid for at the rate of 27
scudi each, measure and design to be given by the signory. The same day
the aforesaid "Magnifici" had it explained to them that they would have
to pay the expenses of making sketches. In the panel with the history of
Moses Zambelli signs his name and domicile. Fra Damiano's subjects
appear to be the large ones in the panelling before the stalls commence,
"The Massacre of the Innocents" and "The Martyrdom of S. Laurence." The
figure subjects are not very successful, the arabesques are better; but
the panels with open cupboard doors and objects within are not so well
done as Fra Giovanni's. The stalls were restored in 1868, and a good
deal of new work put in. The choir of the Cathedral of Savona was made
in 1500 by Anselmo de' Fornari, a native of Castelnuovo da Scrivia; Pope
Julius II. (della Rovere), who was born in the city, commissioned it.
The intarsias are on the elbows of the stalls, half-figures of saints
nearly life size, singly or in pairs, among which is a portrait of the
donor, with perspectives of palaces, temples, or interiors on the backs.
The lower stalls have less important subjects, such as censers,
chalices, vases of flowers, animals, armillary spheres, musical
instruments, etc. The cost of these stalls was 1132 scudi d'oro larghi
(10 francs each and a little more) half of which was paid by Julius
II. and half by the Commune of Savona. In the same Cathedral are a fine
lectern, an episcopal throne, two doors of the chapel of our Lady of the
Column, and a fine seat, the "banco dell' opera," commonly called
"Massaria." Upon such a seat sat anciently the four citizens elected by
the Commune to attend to the interests of the Church governed by them.
Within this bench were preserved the diplomas, statutes, and arguments
held to be most important to the greatness of the country. Anselmo de'
Fornari was helped by Elia de' Rocchi, and the commission was given to
them jointly on January 30, 1500, on which date Cardinal della Rovere
promised to pay 570 ducats towards the expenses.

[Illustration: _To face page 78._

Plate 36.--_Panel from lower row of Stalls, Cathedral, Savona._]

Another intarsiatore who worked with Fra Damiano was Giovanni Francesco
Capo di ferro of Lovere, on Lake Iseo. His masterpiece is the choir of
S. Maria Maggiore, Bergamo. When it was determined to commence it in
1521 the presidents of the church fabric sent to various cities of
Italy, especially to Milan, to consult over the model to be selected for
so important a work with the excellent painter and architect M. Bernardo
Zenale da Treviglio. In the archives of the Misericordia is a book
entitled "Fabbrica Chori," in which is noted the great expense of the
designs only, among which were some made by Lorenzo Lotto, by
Alessandro Bonvicini, called Il Moretto; Andrea Previtali, Giacomo de'
Scipioni, Filippo Zanchi, Giuseppe Belli, Domenico di Albano, Niccolino
Cabrini, Pietro da Nembro, Francesco Boneri, and other painters, as well
as the making of models and other similar operations. Those who worked
at carving and tarsia under the direction of Giovanni Francesco were his
son Zinino and Pietro his brother, who lived in Lodi; Paolo da Pesaro,
and many others, including a whole family, Giovanni di Ponteranica and
his four sons. The part towards the sacristy was designed by Lorenzo
Lotto, the rest by Alessandro Belli. The sedilia on the Gospel side bear
a signature hung from a tree, "Opus Jo: Franc: D. Cap. Ferr. Bergomi."
The four panels outside the screen are Noah entering the ark, the
passage of the Red Sea, the triumph of Judith by the death of
Holofernes, and the victory of David over Goliath. Thus Tassi speaks of
them--"These, to speak the truth, for their admirable workmanship,
singular art, and beautiful colouring, do not appear to be pieces of
wood put together, but rather pictures formed by an excellent brush, the
pieces placed with such mastery, and the woods of different colours to
form the chiaroscuro so arranged with the darkening of others that they
make the half-tints appear as if really painted with oil by the same
Lotto who made the coloured designs, and as he was a celebrated and
finished painter and a powerful one, thus certainly these pieces of wood
put together could stand in face of paintings by the most celebrated
brushes, which, beyond the exactness of drawing, gave to their works
singular force and finish; for in them all the possible excellences of
drawing and of art are displayed, and whoever has had the opportunity of
well considering them has remained surprised and delighted, never
believing that human art could reach so high a pitch of perfection." His
last work is mentioned in 1533, two pictures of Samson, at 60 lire each.
In 1547 his son Zinino and his brother Giovanni Pietro went on with the
choir, and finished it nine years later. The total cost for labour alone
was 7000 lire Imperiali.

[Illustration: _To face page 80._

Plate 37.--_Panel from the Ducal Palace, Mantua._]

In Spain there must have been a good deal of intarsia done, seeing how
long the Moors held the southern part of the country, but very little
has come down to us. In the Mosque at Cordova was a finely inlaid mihrab
of the 10th century, which was unfortunately destroyed in the 16th
century and its material used to make an altar. In the Museum at South
Kensington are some panels with Hispano-Moresque geometric inlays of
bone of the 15th century, which are very pleasing; the ground is of
chestnut, the bone is often stained green, and metal triangles and
light wood are also used. This use of bone, which is frequently tinted,
in conjunction with black and pale wood, is characteristic of Spanish
work of the 16th century. The design is often exceedingly naive,
employing birds, animals, plants, and trees, with scrolls and monsters.
There is one cabinet at South Kensington with the animals entering the
ark, which is most entertaining. The Portuguese carried this work on
later, especially at Goa, in the 17th century, but neither here nor in
Spain is the later work tasteful, except occasionally. Cabinets were
then made at Toledo of ebony and ivory, and at Seville and Salamanca the
same materials were used for chests and sideboards.

At Burgos is a pulpit decorated with inlay as well as carving, and one
of the most elaborate works of marquetry of comparatively modern times
is Spanish. This consists of the decoration of four small rooms in the
Escurial, upon which 28,000,000 reals (£300,000) was spent in 1831. They
are called "piezas de maderas finas," rooms of perfect or delicate
woods, and are entirely covered with landscapes, still-life subjects,
flowers, etc., made of the finest and most costly woods, and almost like
paintings; floor, frieze, panels, window recesses, and doors.

There was a mode of decorating furniture much used in Spain and
Portugal, especially the latter, in which metal plates, cut and pierced
into elaborate and fanciful patterns, were fastened on to the surface of
objects made of black wood by means of small pins. From this to the
decoration of the same surfaces by sinking the metal in the wood is a
short step, and some think that this was the origin of the metal inlay
so well known a little later under the name of Boulle work.


[Illustration: Plate 38.--_Panel from the Rathaus, Breslau, 1563._

_To face page 84._]

In Germany there can be little doubt that the art first struck root in
the southern part of the country, the towns which produced the earliest
furniture and other objects decorated in this manner being Augsburg and
Nuremberg. The first names of workers recorded, however, are those of
the two brothers Elfen, monks of S. Michael at Hildesheim, who made
altars, pulpits, mass-desks, and other church furniture for their
monastery, ornamented with inlays, at the beginning of the 16th century,
and Hans Stengel, of Nuremberg, but none of the inlaid work of either
has come down to us. Two earlier pieces are figured by Hefner Alteneck,
the harp already referred to on p. 8, and a folding seat of brown wood
inlaid with ivory, stained yellow or light green, and black or dark
brown wood, in oriental patterns, both of the latter part of the 14th or
beginning of the 15th century. Two other names are mentioned as capable
craftsmen in Nuremberg, Wolf Weiskopf and Sebald Beck; the latter died
in 1546. The Augsburg work was much sought after, the "so-called
mosaic work of coloured woods." The designs for the panels were
generally made by painters, architectural and perspective subjects being
most common, but flower pieces, views of towns, and historical
compositions were also made. A German work thus characterises the later
16th century productions of this type--"A certain kind of intarsia
becomes common in the German panelling and architectural woodwork; also
in cabinets, vases, and arabesques, with tasteless ruins and
architectural subjects with arabesque growths clinging all over them, of
which examples may be seen in the museums at Vienna and Berlin, where
one may also see works in ebony with engraved ivory inlays, which are
generally more satisfactory. In German work, however, inlay was never of
so much importance as carving, and the Baroque influence almost
immediately affected the character of the design for the worse." At
Dresden and Munich there were several celebrated inlayers in the 17th
century, among whom may be named Hans Schieferstein, Hans Kellerthaler,
of Dresden, and Simon Winkler, N. Fischer, and his son Johann Georg, of
Munich, the last of whom, with his contemporary Adam Eck, practised
relief intarsia, of which the latter is said to have been the inventor.
It was known in the art trade as "Präger arbeit," which was not a name
which accurately described its origin. Panellings of walls and doors
were often decorated with inlays, most frequently of arabesques, of
which the town halls of Lübeck and Danzig furnish fine examples. The
"Kriegsstube" at Lübeck was done by Antonius Evers, who in 1598-9 was
master of the joiners' guild, with his companions. The Rathsaal at
Lüneburg was made in 1566-78, and the name of Albert von Soest is
connected with it. Danzig, in the "Sommerrathstube," shows intarsias and
decorations of 1596 in which the painter Vriedeman Vriese and a certain
Simon Herle, probably a local man, collaborated. Other similar works may
be seen at Brunswick and Breslau, at Ulm, in the Michel Hofkirche at
Munich, and in the Cathedral at Mainz. At Coburg, in the so-called
"Hornzimmer," are intarsias worked from the designs of Lucas Cranach and
others, at Rothenburgh, at Geminden, at Landshut, and in many places in
Tyrol and Steiermark, most of them much mixed with carving, too numerous
to describe. The intarsias at the Hofkirche at Innsbruck, begun in 1560
by Conrad Gottlieb, may, however, be mentioned as being remarkably fine.
Schleswig Holstein is full of intarsias of the end of the 16th and
beginning of the 17th century, of which perhaps the finest are in the
chapel of the Castle of Gottorp. The princes' prayer chamber or pew
is elaborately panelled, and the panels are all filled with inlays,
mostly arabesques. The door and wall panels have elaborate architectural
forms in relief with base, frieze, and pilasters; and are also fully
inlaid with arabesques, counterchanged bay by bay. The ceiling is
coffered, and the male and female patterns are counterchanged
diagonally. Bosses of lions' heads and rosettes project from the
surfaces of the beams, between which the intarsia panels are flat. The
central features in the several divisions are sunk, a central oblong
with an oval in centre bearing the subject of the Resurrection and two
side diamonds. The panels surrounding these have raised mouldings, so
that there is considerable variety of level, and the whole is raised on
a bracketed cornice, the flat surface of which has small panels inlaid
in the same fashion. It was put up in 1612 by Duke Johann Adolf of
Schleswig Holstein and his wife, Augusta of Denmark.

[Illustration: Plate 39.--_Panel from Church of S. Mary Magdalene,

_To face page 86._]

[Illustration: Plate 40.--_Pilaster strip from the Magdalen Church,

In the State archives of Schleswig, in 1608, the names of Andreas
Sallig, court joiner; Jochim Rosenfeldt, carver; and others are noted.
Also in 1609, with the addition of the painter Herman Uhr and Hans and
Jürgen Dreyer, of Schleswig; also the carver Hans Preuszen, and Adam
Wegener, the figure-cutter. In 1610 the names of Jürgen Koningh,
joiner's workman, several carvers, and Herman Uhr, the painter, occur.
In 1611 Herman Uhr and Klaus Barck work in the chapel, the first for 115
days, and the second for 178 days, and in 1612 several carvers and
turners work for a long time at the rate of five "schillings" a day, as
well as Herman Uhr and his assistant. These records distinctly suggest
that the painter Herman Uhr was the designer, since his name is the only
one which appears for four years consecutively, though the long period
during which he worked in 1612 may be explained by the number of
paintings which cover a portion of the exterior of the pew.

[Illustration: Plate 41.--_Panel from S. Elizabeth's Church, Breslau._

_To face page 88._]

In South Germany one often meets with musical instruments which are
inlaid with conventionalised floral forms. They were produced in the
17th century in considerable quantities in Wurtemburg, Bavaria, and on
the Southern Shores of Lake Constance. Nor must one forget the
extraordinarily elaborate ivory inlays on the stocks of arquebuses. In
the Wallace collection are many examples, and attention may be drawn to
a jewel box made in 1630 by Conrad Cornier, arquebus mounter, which is
decorated with most elaborate scrolls, leaves, and birds of ivory and
mother-of-pearl, stained green in parts. It is made of walnut, and has
metal scrolls at the corners of the panel framing. The German inlays
on the whole rather run to arabesques and strapwork, or naturalistic
vases of flowers, with butterflies and birds; one meets occasional
perspectives and even figures, but the work is generally harder and less
successful than the Italian technique, with a larger and less
intelligent use of scorched tints.

In the latter part of the 17th century they often made the ground of a
cabinet or panelling of one wood and the mouldings which defined the
panels and the carved ornaments added of another, or even of two others;
the effect is not quite happy. Tortoiseshell also appears, and metal and
coloured stones; the striving after what they thought to be greater
artistry soon caused them to outstep more and more the proper limits of
the art, and brought about decadence. The South German bride chests of
the century before are decorated a good deal with inlays, Peter
Flotner's designs often serving as patterns; a little green and red
appear mixed with the commoner colours. The architectural forms project,
and would form a tolerable design by themselves, though scarcely
suitable to the object to which they are applied. In German work the
cabinets are often of the most elaborate architectural design, like the
façade of a palace, made of ebony, or occasionally even of ivory, and
inlaid with ivory, silver, gold and enamels or precious stones.
Augsburg was the most celebrated place for such work. The joiner, the
woodcarver, the lapidary, and the goldsmith all worked together on such
things. In the North of Germany tarsia was principally used on chests,
cabinets, seats, and smaller objects of furniture; in South Germany,
where the Italian influence was stronger, it was much used in
wall-panelling and the panels of doors. The little castle of Völthurn,
near Brixen, built by the bishop of that town in 1580-85 and decorated
by Brixener artists and joiners (now belonging to Prince Lichtenstein),
shows "panelled walls with architectural features, columns, cornices,
and friezes, with gabled doorways with columns and pediments, decorated
with very delicate intarsias, foliage ornaments, flowers, and fruit, a
work which modern Brixener joiners could with difficulty understand"; so
says Von Falke. Ebony and ivory work came to Germany in the latter half
of the 16th century, when Augsburg and Nuremberg soon exported their
productions of this sort to all the world, and with this commercial
production the use of male and female designs begins, black on white and
white on black. The latter is the better and more valued. Hans
Schieferstein's cabinet, now at Dresden, a work of this period, has an
ingenious use of this mode of inlay. It is made of ebony or veneered
with that wood, and has inlays of brown cypress and of ivory. The
panel on the inside of the door is of the same design as that on the
outside, but what was white becomes brown, what was brown is black, and
the black becomes white.

[Illustration: Plate 42.--_Lower panel of door, 1564--Tyrolese._

_To face page 90._]

In the Musée Cluny is a wire drawing bench made in 1565 for Augustus I.,
Elector of Saxony, who was an amateur craftsman. The two longitudinal
surfaces are covered with a double frieze of marquetry, one side
representing a satirical tournament between the Papacy and Lutheranism,
and the other a carousal of wild men. In front one sees the marqueteur
with his tools doing his work, below which he has placed his monogram,
L--D., accompanied by a cup.

In the Museum at Leipzig is a very fine cabinet, with many drawers
within, elaborately inlaid with arabesques on a light ground, with a few
architectural forms in ebony projecting. It is Tyrolese work of the
beginning of the 17th century, and is a typical example. To the few
names of German intarsiatori may be added those of Isaac Kiening, of
Frissen, and Sixtus Loblein, of Landshut.

In the lower Rhine and in Holland tarsia was used for great and small
chests, sideboards and doors with rich gable crownings, with good
drawing of flowers, and sprigs of leaves with birds and beasts among
them, the ground being generally light. The doors ordered by the Swedish
Chamberlain, Axel Oxenstiern, now in the drinking-room of the King's
Castle of Ulriksdal, near Stockholm, are said by Von Falke to be the
finest examples extant of this kind of work, and to have been made in
the 17th century by a Dutch craftsman. The best period in Holland was
the second half of the 16th and the first half of the 17th century. In
the work of this period the handling is broad, and the composition often
a little over-full, but the many different woods which Dutch commerce
made available seduced the marqueteurs into too pictorial a treatment in
point of colour. Their reputation was so great that Colbert engaged two
Dutch marqueteurs, Pierre Gole and Vordt, for the Gobelins at the
beginning of the 17th century, and Jean Macé also learnt the craft by a
long stay in Holland. Here, as well as in France and Italy, rich chairs
were commonly decorated with marquetry, and in William and Mary's reign
such things became the fashion in England. The design employed tulips
and other flowers, foliage, birds, etc., all in gay colours; ivory and
mother-of-pearl were used occasionally for salient points, such as eyes.
Examples of the use and misuse of these materials may be seen in the
Victoria and Albert Museum at South Kensington.

[Illustration: Plate 43.--_Top of card table in the Drawing-room,
Roehampton House. Dutch, 18th Century._

_To face page 92._]

[Illustration: Plate 44.--_Panelling from Sizergh Castle, now in
Victoria and Albert Museum._]

Although not much work of importance is known in England which is
certainly the production of native craftsmen, a few notable examples may
be called to mind, such as the room from Sizergh Castle, now at South
Kensington, with inlays of holly and bog-oak, and the fine suite of
furniture at Hardwick Hall, made for Bess of Hardwick by English workmen
who had been to Italy for some years. Correspondence passed between her
and Sir John Thynne on the subject of the craftsmen employed by both,
and there seems no doubt that Longleat and Hardwick were the work of the
same men. The inlays upon the long table are particularly fine, and
except for a certain clumsiness almost recall the glories of the great
period of Italian marquetry. The cradle of James I. (1566) is enriched
with inlays.

At Gilling Castle, near Wakefield, are some panels inlaid with flowers,
etc., which local tradition says were executed by some of the ladies of
the family, which probably points to their having been done under their
superintendence by local workmen, and small panels of rough inlay are
not uncommon in chest and bedstead, overmantel and cabinet from the
Jacobean period onward. S. Mary Overie, Southwark, possesses a fine
parish chest decorated with a good deal of Dutch-looking inlay in
conjunction with carving, and a rather unusual piece of work may be
seen at Glastonbury Hall, where the treads and landings of the oak
stairs are inlaid with mahogany and a light wood with stars and lozenges
and a cartouche with a monogram and date 1726. The use of satin wood
came into fashion towards the end of the eighteenth century, and was
accompanied by a delicate inlay of other woods, which, however, scarcely
went beyond the simplest ornament, since the decoration of furniture by
means of painting became fashionable at nearly the same period.

[Illustration: Plate 45.--_Cabinet with falling front, in the
drawing-room, Roehampton House._

_To face page 94._]

It was in France that the most wonderful achievements of the later
marqueteurs were produced, which have made French furniture recognised
by the public as well as by connoisseurs as an art manufacture, in
conjunction with the wonderfully chiselled ormolu mountings. Mention is
made of intarsia in France as early as the end of the fifteenth century,
however. In the inventory of Anne of Brittanny's effects (1498) may be
read "ung coffret faict de musayeque de bois et d'ivoire," and in a
still earlier one of the Duke de Berry's, dated 1416, is mentioned a
"grant tableau, où est la passion de Nostre Seigneur, fait de poins de
marqueterie." This is as early as the intarsias of Domenico di Nicolò at
Siena, and was probably of foreign manufacture. In 1576 a certain Hans
Kraus was called "marqueteur du roi," but the first Frenchman known to
have practised the art is Jean Macé of Blois, who was at work in
Paris from 1644 or earlier to 1672 as sculptor and painter. He is said
to have been the first who brought intarsia into France, under the name
of "marqueterie," having been for some time in the Netherlands. His
title was "menuisier et faiseur de Cabinets et tableaux en marqueterie
de bois." He was lodged in the Louvre in 1644 (when Louis XIV. was six
years old), "en honneur de la longue et belle pratique de son art dans
les Pays Bas." His daughter married Pierre Boulle, who in 1619 was
turner and joiner to the King, probably both to Louis XIII. and Henry
IV. In 1621 Paul Boulle was born, and five years later Jacques. The
family was settled at Charenton-le-Pont, near Paris, the principal town
of the Huguenots for eighty years. Here, in 1649, Pierre Boulle was
buried, the father of seven children. The earlier seventeenth century
designs show picturesque landscapes or broken ruins or figures, _motifs_
which recur a century later, as in the beautiful panel signed "Follet"
in the Cabinet by Claude Charles Saunier in the Wallace collection. The
colours are occasionally stained, and ebony and ivory are favourite
materials. It is impossible to fix the exact time when copper and
tortoiseshell came into use in France. Some of the cabinets in which
they appear are certainly of the period of Louis XIII. It was probably
imported either from Spain or Flanders; it became very fashionable
about the middle of the seventeenth century, and ended by entirely
absorbing the official orders of the Court of Louis XIV. With this work
the name of Boulle is indissolubly associated. Pierre Boulle was lodged
in the Louvre about 1642. In 1636 he is on the list for 400 livres
annually. Jean Boulle died in the Louvre in 1680. He was the father of
André Charles probably, who was born in November, 1642, and the nephew
of Pierre. André Charles Boulle in 1672 succeeded to the lodging of Jean
Macé in the same building, and seven years later by a second brévet to
the "demilogement," formerly occupied by Guillaume Petit "to allow him
to finish the works executed for His Majesty's service." It is told of
him by a contemporary that the talented boy wanted to be a painter, but
his father would not allow it, and insisted upon his keeping to
handicraft. He was a man of most varied talent; when he was first
granted apartments in the Louvre it was as "joiner, marqueteur, gilder,
and chiseller," and in the decree of Louis XIV., by which he was
appointed the first art-joiner to the King, he is called "architect,
sculptor, and engraver." He had a passion for collecting drawings,
paintings, and other works of art, and when his workshops were burnt his
collection was valued at 60,000 livres. This taste brought him into
money difficulties, and in 1704 his creditors obtained a decree
against him, and he would have been imprisoned if the King had not
extended the safeguard of the Palace of the Louvre to him on condition
that he made an arrangement with them. He was a member of the Academy of
S. Luke as sculptor and brass engraver. The Cabinet of the Dauphin was
considered his masterpiece, in which the walls and ceiling were covered
with mirrors in ebony frames, with inlays of rich gilding, and the floor
laid with wood mosaic, in which the initials of the Dauphin and his wife
were intertwined. The drawing made for it is now in the Musée des Arts
Décoratifs, but the work itself no longer exists. On August 30th, 1720,
his works were burnt, it was thought by a thief whom the workmen of
Marteau, his neighbour at the Louvre, had surprised some months before
and punished summarily, who, by way of vengeance on the "menuisiers,"
set fire to the "ébénistes." Nearly everything he possessed was either
burnt, lost, or stolen; models of the value of 37,000 livres, wood and
tools worth 25,000, many pieces of furniture finished or in course of
construction; works in metal, as well as in wood, and his whole
collection of drawings, paintings, and objects of art. His total loss
was estimated by experts at 383,780 livres, more than 1,000,000 of
francs in the money of to-day, from which an income of 50,000 francs
might be expected. This valuation was on an inventory drawn up shortly
after, perhaps for the purpose of getting the King's help. The number of
undeniable productions of his hand is small, but objects which came from
the studio after his death are tolerably plentiful since his four sons
carried on the business, though not the inspiration; contemporaries
characterised them as "apes." Two commodes which were in Louis XVI.'s
bedroom at Versailles are now in the Bibliothêque Mazarin, and a chest
which was forgotten in the Custom House at Havre now belongs to the
museum of that city. A cabinet is in the Mobilier National, and a
pedestal is in the Grünes Gewölbe at Dresden. Other genuine Boulles are
in the Wallace collection, in the Rothschild collection, and at the
Hotel Cluny. A writing table, for which the millionaire Samuel Bernard
(who died in 1739), a great collector of art treasures, had given 50,000
livres, appears to be lost. M. Luchet asks, with some truth, "Can you
imagine a financier, Jew or Christian, paying 100,000 francs for a new
bureau? Old, it would be another thing--an object of art to sell."
Boulle was most careful over his materials. He had 12,000 livres worth
of wood in his stores, fir, oak, walnut, battens, Norwegian wood, all
collected and kept long and carefully for the benefit of the work. He
also used real tortoiseshell, which, is replaced in the economical art
industry of the day with gelatine. The mountings were always chiselled,
cast quite roughly, so that the artist did nearly everything. He was
helped in this part of the work by Domenico Cucci and others. The inlay,
instead of being tortoiseshell, may have been horn, mother-of-pearl,
ivory, or wood; the motive, instead of brass, may be pewter, silver,
aluminium, or gold; it is still known by the name of Boulle work. Boulle
himself worked intarsia of wood also at intervals all through his life.
He died February 29th, 1732.

[Illustration: Plate 46.--_Cabinet belonging to Earl Granville. Boulle
work of about 1740._

_To face page 96._] [Illustration: Plate 47.--_Top of writing table in
the Saloon, Roehampton House. Period of Louis XV._]

[Illustration: Plate 48.--_Encoignure, signed J. F. Oeben, in the Jones
bequest, Victoria and Albert Museum._

_To face page 98._]

His pupil, J. F. Oëben, became "ébéniste du roi," with a lodging in the
_dépendances_ of the Arsenal in 1754. He was marqueteur especially.
Examples of his work are both at South Kensington and in the Wallace
collection, and in the Gallerie d'Apollon at the Louvre is the great
secretary bureau, which he was making for Louis XV. at the time of his
death, in or about 1765. His widow carried on the establishment; her
foreman, J. Henry Riesener, completed the unfinished work. He was also a
German, born in 1735 at Gladbach, near Cologne, and coming to Paris
quite young entered Oëben's atelier. On his death he was made foreman,
and two years after, when he was thirty-two years of age, married his
master's widow. The year following 1768 he was received as master
_menuisier ébéniste_. In 1776 his wife died, and six years after he
married again, but was divorced as soon as the new legislation allowed
it. When he was married the first time he had no fortune, but fifteen
years after he declared in his marriage contract that there was then
owing to him by the King, the royal family, and other debtors 504,571
livres, without counting the finished objects in his warehouses, his
models of bronze, his jewels, and personal effects, and several
important life annuities. Between 1775 and 1785 he received from the
Garde Meuble 500,000 livres, so profitable had the production of
furniture of the highest class become. He was in full work at the time
of the Revolution, and two of his finest pieces bear the dates 1790 and
1791 in their marquetry. When the furniture of the royal residences was
sold, Riesener bought back several pieces, being aided by Charles
Delacroix, the husband of his first wife's daughter, who directed the
sale at Versailles. He tried to sell these again, but with poor success,
and when he died, on January 8th, 1806, at the age of 71, he was again
almost without fortune. His beautiful bureau secretary in the Wallace
collection, made for Stanislas Leczinski, King of Poland, and dated
1769, shows him at his best. The workmanship is superb, and the design
most pleasing, almost the only point to which exception may be taken
being the crude green, obtained by staining, here and there. The
half-length of Secrecy in the oval cartouche at the back is as good as
the best Italian figure work, and was often reproduced by him. The
flower panels are particularly delicate and beautiful. There is an
upright secretary, also by him, in the same collection almost equally
delicate and beautiful in its marquetry decorations. The diaper patterns
so characteristic of this period are most beautifully executed, but are
not very interesting, and the mountings take the interest rather from
the marquetry, becoming more and more delicately designed and
elaborately worked. The principal woods used by Riesener were tulip and
rose wood, holly, maple, laburnum, purple wood, and sometimes snake
wood. His contemporary, David Roentgen, used principally pear, lime, and
light-coloured woods, burnt for the shades.

[Illustration: Plate 49.--_Panel from back of Riesener's bureau, made
for Stanislas Leczinski, with figure of Secrecy._

_To face page 100._]

[Illustration: Plate 50.--_Roundel from bureau, made for Stanislas
Leczinski, King of Poland, now in the Wallace Collection._

_To face page 102._]

Paris has endured a regular invasion of German craftsmen from the middle
of the eighteenth century, and the Faubourg S. Antoine still has a
number of German-born joiners among its workmen. Among the most
celebrated of them was David Roentgen, born either at Neuwied or
Herrenhagen in 1743. In 1772 he succeeded his father, Abraham Roentgen,
in his business at Neuwied am Rhein, which he had founded in 1753, and
from which he retired into the house of the Moravian brethren, where he
lived for twenty years longer. The engraver Wille relates that he came
to his house in Paris in 1774 with letters of recommendation, and that
he put him in touch with designers and sculptors. When Marie Antoinette
became Queen he was appointed "Ébéniste méchanicien" to the Queen. He
was in such good odour with her as to be charged on several occasions to
carry presents to her mother and sisters. Her favour excited the
jealousy of the other joiners, and they contested his right to sell
foreign-made furniture. He got out of this difficulty by being admitted
a member of their corporation on May 24th, 1780. He was so entirely
master of his craft, and increased its resources so much by using exotic
woods, that contemporary opinion thought it difficult to imagine greater
success in the particular direction in which he worked. In 1779 he
showed a table of marquetry, made in a new fashion, which he described
as a mosaic, "in which the shades are neither burnt, nor engraved, nor
darkened with smoke, as one has been obliged to express them until now,"
a return in fact to the earlier Italian method. His designs were many of
them made by Johann Zick of Coblenz, others by Jean Baptiste Le Prince,
chinoiseries, and shepherd games. Under him the later German marqueterie
reached its highest point. His works went all over Europe, from St.
Petersburg to Paris, and replicas were ordered by those who were obliged
to forego the originals. He sold to Catherine of Russia a series of
articles of furniture for 20,000 roubles, and the Empress added a
present of 5000 roubles and a gold snuff-box. The King of Prussia was
his constant protector, and in February, 1792, gave him the title of
Secret Councillor, and in November of the same year named him Royal
Agent on the Lower Rhine. The Revolution ruined him, and he was obliged
in 1796 to close his factory. He abandoned France at this period, and
the Government, considering him as an "Emigré," seized all his effects
in 1793, including the furniture made at Neuwied, then in his stores. He
died at Wiesbaden in 1807. With him these incomplete historical notes
may terminate. Many of the names mentioned are but names, while in many
cases names and works cannot be connected, for the carver and
intarsiatori were often, like other craftsmen, content to do the work
without caring about the reputation of doing it; but the cases in which
facts of the lives or work of these men have been preserved are so much
the more interesting from their rarity, and certainly do not show them
to any disadvantage compared with other artists, or those among whom
their lives were passed.


The early mode of working intarsia in Italy, where it is more than 100
years more ancient than in any other country, was by sinking forms in
the wood, according to a prearranged design, and then filling the
hollows with pieces of different coloured woods. At first the number of
colours used was very small--indeed, Vasari says that the only tints
employed were black and white, but this must be interpreted freely,
since the colour of wood is not generally uniform, and there would
consequently often be a difference in tint in portions cut from
different parts of the same plank. A cypress chest of 1350, now in the
Victoria and Albert Museum, shows another mode of decoration standing
between tarsia proper and the mediæval German and French fashion of
sinking the ground round the ornament and colouring it. In this example
the design is incised, the ground cleared out to a slight depth, and the
internal lines of the drawing and the background spaces filled in with a
black mastic, the result much resembling niello. If dark wood be
substituted for the mastic background we have almost the effect of
the stalls of the chapel of the Palazzo Pubblico at Siena, which, though
an early work of Domenico di Nicolò, are well considered in design, well
executed, and quite satisfactory in point of harmony between material
and design.

[Illustration: Plate 51.--_Antonio Barili at work, by himself._

_To face page 104._]

At the commencement of the Renaissance the fancy of the intarsiatori
overflowed in the most graceful arabesques, which are perfectly suited
to the material and are often executed with absolute perfection, and
these may perhaps be held to be the most entirely satisfactory of their
works, though not the most marvellous. The ambition of the craftsman led
him to emulate the achievements of the painter, and we find, after the
invention of perspective drawing, views of streets and other
architectural subjects, which are not always very successful, and the
representation of cupboards, the doors of which are partly open, showing
objects of different kinds on the shelves, which are often rendered with
the most extraordinary realism, when the means adopted are
considered.[3] This realism was much assisted by Fra Giovanni da
Verona's discovery of acid solutions and stains for treating the wood,
so as to get more variety of colour, and by the practice of scorching
portions of the pieces of which the subject was composed, thus
suggesting roundness by means of shading. It was a common practice to
increase the decorative effect by means of gilding and paint, thus
obtaining a brilliancy of colour at the expense of unity of effect
sometimes, one may think, if one may judge from the panels in the stalls
at the Certosa of Pavia--though perhaps it is scarcely fair to take them
as examples of the effect of the older work since they have been
restored in modern times. At the best period it was used almost entirely
for church furniture and the furnishings of public edifices, in Italy at
least, and many of the ranges of stalls still occupy their original

[Illustration: Plate 52.--_Panel from the Victoria and Albert Museum._

_To face page 106._]

The principal woods used in the work of the best period were pear,
walnut, and maple, though pine and cypress also appear. Ebony was
imitated with a tincture of gall apples, green was obtained with
verdigris, and red with cochineal. Sublimate of mercury, arsenical acid,
and sulphuric acid were also used to affect the colour of the wood. This
treatment lessened its lasting power, and often caused its decay through
the attacks of worms. The scorching was done with molten lead, or in
very dark places with a soldering-iron. It is now done with hot sand.
The following technical description is taken from a German book of
1669--"Wood-workers paint with quite thin little bits of wood, which
are coloured in different ways, and the same are put together after
the form of the design in hollowed-out panels, fastened with glue and
polished with an iron on the surface so that they may become quite
smooth. They paint at the present time in this manner tables and jewel
chests or trays, and all in the highest artistic manner. Also separate
pictures are put together, which copy the works of the most celebrated
masters. First, they take small, very thin pieces of pear or lime dyed
through with different colour-stuffs, which are prepared by certain
processes, so that the wood is the same colour within and without. Then
they give them their several shapes as the kind of picture requires,
cutting them according to the size and shape, and stick them with glue
on the board. In the place of wood they sometimes use bone, horn, and
tortoiseshell cut into fine strips, also ivory and silver. The whole
work is called by the Germans 'Einlegen' or 'Furnieren,' because
although each piece is separate from the others no part is taken out
from the surface in which such figures are inlaid, but the whole is
covered." With the use of the fret-saw for cutting the patterns, and the
consequent discovery of the possibility of counterchanging the ground
and the design (that which was black becoming white, and _vice versâ_),
called male and female forms, the manufacture of tarsia, or marquetry
rather, commenced to take a more commercial aspect, the cost being
considerably reduced by the making of several copies by one sawing. This
is the process used at the present day.

The durability of inlaid work depends upon the tightness and
completeness with which the inlaid parts are fitted together or mortised
into the main body or bed of the wood, and also on the level grounding
out of the matrix. In Spanish and Portuguese work ivory or ebony pins or
pegs were used also. Marquetry is a form of veneering, and the operation
is thus conducted:--The under surface of the veneer and the upper
surface of the bed are both carefully levelled and toothed over so as to
get a clean, newly-worked surface; the ground is then well wetted with
glue, at a high temperature, and the two surfaces pressed tightly
together so as to squeeze as much out as possible. The parts are screwed
down on heated metal beds, or between wooden frames, made so as to
exactly fit the surfaces in every part, called "cauls," until the glue
is hard. In cutting the patterns of Boulle work two or three slices of
material, such as brass and tortoiseshell or ebony, are glued together
with paper between, so that they may be easily separated when the
cutting is done. Another piece of paper is glued outside, upon which the
pattern is indicated. A fine watch spring saw is then introduced
through a hole in an unimportant part of the design, and the patterns
sawn out as in ordinary fretwork. The slices are then separated, and
that cut out of one slice is fitted into the others so that one cutting
produces several repetitions of the design with variations in ground and
pattern. When there are only two slices of material the technical term
for them is Boulle and Counter. When the various parts have been
arranged in their places, face downwards, paper is glued over them to
keep the whole in place, and filings of the material rubbed in to fill
up any interstices. The whole is then toothed over and laid down in the
same manner as ordinary veneer, the ground being first rubbed over with
garlic, or some acid, to remove any traces of grease. Marquetry of wood
is made in the same way, but more thicknesses of wood are put together
to be sawn through, as many as four not being an unusual number, while
for common work even eight may be sawn at one time, and the various
sheets are pinned together only with a stiff backing of common veneer of
good thickness to steady the work. Dye woods are used as far as
possible, and holly stained to the required colour serves for greens and
blues and a few other tints. Pearl is always cut in one thickness, and
is glued down on a backing of wood at least 1/8-inch thick.

Another mode of cutting the design approximates more nearly to the
ancient practice. The whole design is drawn on paper attached to the
ground, or counter, and cut out entirely. The various portions of inlay
are then cut from different veneers of the desired colour and fitted
into their places. Another method is to paste the paper with the whole
design on the ground, and on it to paste the various ornaments cut from
suitable veneers, then to cut through the ground, the saw grazing the
edges of the ornamental forms. The parts so cut out are then pushed
through the ornaments, separated from the paper, and laid down in the
vacant places. A variation on this method is to cut out the forms to be
inlaid in different veneers, and glue them in their proper positions on
a sheet of paper. A sheet of white paper is pasted on the veneer, which
is to serve as the ground. A sheet of blackened paper is laid over it,
and over this the sheet with the forms to be inlaid, which are then
struck with a light mallet, so as to print an impression of their edges
upon the paper. The printed shapes are then cut out one at a time, care
being taken to make the saw exactly follow the outline. The object of
all these processes is, of course, to ensure the ground and the inlaid
forms exactly fitting. After cleaning the surface from paper and glue it
is smoothed with plane and scraper, and the markings on leaves or other
figures made by a graver, if not already made by saw cuts, and they and
the lines between the male and female forms are filled with shellac or
wood-dust and glue.

In Germany the veneers used are one to two millimetres thick, _i.e._,
one-twenty-fifth or two-twenty-fifths of an inch. The principal woods
used are walnut, pear, ash, bird maple, holly, olive, amboyna, rose
wood, violet wood, thuya, and palisander, which name is also used on the
Continent for rose wood and violet, though it is really a sort of cedar.
Tortoiseshell, ivory, and metal plates are also used, principally of
pewter, brass, and zinc. Seeman's Kunstgewerbliche Handbücher advise
thus:--"When ivory or hard precious metals are used it is better to
divide the design into smaller parts. To avoid damage to the effect by
time and change of colour in the woods such combinations as the
following are to be preferred:--Mahogany and black walnut, pear and
black walnut, Hungarian ash and black thuya, pear and palisander, brass
and black, etc. For fine, small ornament smooth, even-textured woods
should be used such as pear, mahogany, maple, or holly; for broad
patches and backgrounds, which are not required to be dark, you should
use patterned or streaked woods, like bird maple, amboyna, thuya, or
olive. Ivory, mother-of-pearl, and metals in large pieces look hard and
loud, so it is better to use them in quite small pieces. If engraved,
larger pieces may be employed and used for inscription tablets, coats of
arms, and cartouches, or for bits of figures, birds, and butterflies.
Shading may be done in various ways. Lines may be engraved and filled up
with a glue cement, or hatchings may be drawn with a scorching solution,
or the wood may be burnt with hot sand. The sand is made hot in an iron
pot, and the piece to be darkened inserted. Or it may be scorched with a
hot iron or spirit or gas flame. The simplest way is with the poker used
in poker work." In England the sand is heaped upon a metal plate which
is heated underneath. The veneer is held with tweezers and pushed into
the sand, the gradation of heat giving gradation of tone. The hot sand
shrinks the wood, and allowance must be made for this.

Veneers are both saw and knife cut; the saw wastes about as much as the
thickness cut in sawdust. They range from 8 to 15 to the inch. The
French saw-cut their veneers thinner than the English do.

The woods in every-day use at the present day are white holly, box, pear
(in various shades), and holly (dyed all colours); while the veneer
merchants sometimes supply also planetree, sycamore, chestnut,
Brazilwood, yellow fustic, barwood, tulipwood, kingwood, East and West
India satinwood, rosewood, ebony, ash, harewood, Indian purplewood,
hornbeam, and snakewood. Bird's-eye maple and partridgewood may also be

Dye woods used for marquetry--Braziletto, cam wood, logwood, Nicaragua,
red sanders, sapan, ebony, fustic (a species of mulberry), Zante (a
species of sumach). "Ebony is the black pear tree of Madagascar, at
least they make cider of its fruit." So says M. Luchet in an interesting
excursus on furniture manufacture in his book on the Paris Exhibition of
1867, in which he gives further details of ancient manufacture and its
modern imitation. "I know a factory," he says, "where the tortoiseshell
is false, the mother-of-pearl false, the ivory holly wood; the brass is
the only real thing, because science applied to industry has not yet
found out how to imitate it. When Boulle employed wood in his work it
was ebony--they have abandoned that for blackened pear wood, under the
pretext that ebony is a hard, close wood which twists, splits, and
cracks, takes glue badly, and refuses varnish. So that they call a man
who never uses ebony 'ébéniste.' They did not trouble about these things
in the time of Louis XIV. They never varnished their furniture, so it
did not matter that ebony would not take varnish.... There are two sorts
of tortoiseshell, that of the Antilles, often bad and scaly, but good
enough for common work, because it is thin and equal in thickness, and a
little carmine vermilion gives it a not unpleasant red tint. The Indian
tortoiseshell is thick and opaque and unequal, demanding preparation and
welding. It can only be used for expensive work, and takes easily a
black preparation which makes it magnificently austere." One ought to
mention here that good shell was often treated with carmine vermilion or
with gold, and that without a colour background it loses half its beauty
and value.

"In modern times six or eight couples of shell and metal are sawn
together, whereas two was the number in the fine period. This saves
money. A new Boulle bed, secretary, or chest of drawers should cost 15
to 20,000 francs. You may easily get one for 2000 made of rubbish. An
honest chest of drawers with tolerable mountings is worth 1500 francs.
In gelatine tortoiseshell and brass or zinc of the future 100 is the
price.... The mode still practised in Paris of making a good 'placage'
in preparation for marquetry or Boulle work is as follows:--A thicker or
thinner sheet of Italian poplar is placed between two sheets of oak with
the grain the other way, then on the external sheet of oak is placed the
wood intended to be seen, also with the grain the other way, the whole
of convenient thickness, and glued with the best glue. Good glue is the
nurse of the wood, say the masters. These four or five thicknesses of
wood pulling against each other neutralise all bad effects, and the
result is very good. The external covering is usually either mahogany,
American walnut, or violet wood (a sort of cedar). Sometimes it is
ebony, or perhaps a collection of small pieces of wood, such as acacia,
which are called by all sorts of pretty names. It is of this fine and
good 'plaqué' that they still make cupboards at 1000 francs, beds at 600
francs, and bureaus at 800 francs, which are the success and the pride
of Parisian joinery." The marqueteurs of Nice made use of olive for
veined grey backgrounds, orange and lemon for pale yellow, carob for
dark red, jujube tree for rose colour, holly for white, and charred fig
for black; arbutus served for dark flesh, and sumach for light.

It is advisable after the marquetry has been put together to reduce the
surface to a level and do something in the way of polishing, though it
is not necessary to carry the process as far as is often done by the
cheap furniture manufacturers. If nothing but wood has been used, the
surface should be reduced to a level with a toothing plane and scraped
with a joiner's scraper, taking care to apply it obliquely to the joints
as far as possible, so as to avoid digging down and so failing in the
object aimed at. If done very well and carefully it sometimes only
requires to be rubbed down with its own shavings, but it is more usually
necessary to follow with a worn piece of glass-paper on a flat piece of
cork, but the dust must not be allowed to collect into hard lumps upon
it, as these lumps would scratch the surface. Holtzapffel says that when
metal, ivory, pearl, shell, or tortoiseshell are mixed with the wood the
surface must be carefully levelled with flat files, ending with a very
smooth one, after which the scraper should be used if possible and
followed by glass or emery paper very sparingly. When metal
preponderates emery paper is best, and really good _sand_ paper may also
be used, but all paper should have very little "cut," should be applied
dry, and allowed to become clogged, so as to act principally as a hard
dry rubber or burnisher. If the polishing is at all in excess the wood
will get rubbed or worn down below the metal. The fine finish required
when tortoiseshell and metal are used is got by rubbing with blocks of
charcoal used endways with oil and the finest rotten-stone powder, much
like polishing marble, using oil instead of water. Wet polishing should
not be used for inlaid works; the water may soften the glue. A
superficial wetting is likely to warp the woods and make them curl up at
the edges, and the grain of the wood is almost certain to rise. Oil is
better than water, but light woods are almost certain to become stained
by polishing powders and fluid. To avoid this modern marquetry is often
covered with varnish applied with friction like French polish, or laid
on in several coats with a brush and polished off with pumice and rotten
stone, like the Vernis Martin, being first levelled with a file or
scraper and smoothed with glass-paper.


[3] The panel illustrated from the Albert and Victoria Museum is a good
average specimen of this kind, but not quite a masterpiece.


The process described, by which the early works in intarsia were
produced, was slow and tedious; and, as may be supposed, though fame
might be won by its exercise, the winning of fortune was a very
different thing. Domenico di Nicolò, who made the stalls in the chapel
of the Palazzo Pubblico, Siena, and was thence called "del Coro," or
"dei Cori," a name which descended to his children in place of their
proper name of Spinelli, is an example in point. The petitions to the
priors already referred to, printed in Milanesi's Documenti per la
Storia dell' Arte Senese, show how little a man of talent, who was
constantly employed for many years and gained great reputation in his
art, could do to provide for his old age; and many returns of both
painters, sculptors, and woodworkers, made for the purposes of taxation
and printed in the same book, show that even in a great and flourishing
town like Siena, which prided itself on its artistic reputation, it was
often most difficult for the craftsmen, on whose work that reputation
was based, to make a living.[4] It is true that there were thirty-four
workshops for wood carving and intarsia in Florence at one time (1478,
as Fabroni says in his life of Lorenzo the Magnificent), from which one
may conclude that work of a certain sort was plentiful and lucrative,
and panels of intarsia were certainly sometimes exported, but it may be
observed that all the most celebrated intarsiatori practised some other
form of art also, and generally abandoned intarsia sooner or later; the
exceptions being those who belonged to the Olivetan and Dominican
orders, and therefore had no anxiety about their living. Of these
craftsmen the most celebrated were Fra Giovanni da Verona and Fra
Damiano of Bergamo, whose works were so elaborate and so finely executed
as to excite the suspicion that they were painted with the brush, though
supposed to be executed with wood and the chisel. The anecdote of the
Emperor Charles V.'s trial of Fra Damiano's tarsia panel in S. Domenico,
Bologna, attests the wonderful quality of the work, and its success in
attaining a doubtful aim, and Barili's inscription in the panel showing
himself at work shows that it was not uncommon for such panels to be
supposed to be the work of the brush. The designs from which the
intarsia was executed were often furnished by painters of repute, and
pictures or portions of pictures were copied, a proceeding which Fra
Giovanni's discovery of stains and washes of different kinds made
easier, until the proper limits of the art were far overpassed, and its
decorative quality quite lost sight of in the attempt to rival a form of
art the requirements of which were quite different. The beautiful
arabesques, which the designers of the early Renaissance poured forth
with exhaustless fertility, show the capabilities of the process for
decorating flat surfaces, and the perspectives of cupboards and
buildings were often most successful without passing the limits imposed
by the material.

The question of the limits within which the craftsman's effort should be
confined in any form of art craftsmanship is a thorny one, for the
attempt to overstep those limits has always had attractions for the
craftsman who is master of his craft, and who sighs for fresh fields to
conquer, knowing better than the outsider what are the difficulties
which he has overcome successfully in any piece of work from the side of
craftsmanship, though often with disastrous results when the matter is
regarded from the point of view of excellence in design and purity of
taste. It has been maintained by purists in modern times that all
engraving or shading of the pieces of wood used in forming the design is
illegitimate; and if this be so, it is equally illegitimate to stain any
of them; but it is undeniable that a great addition to the resources of
the inlayer was made by the discoveries of Fra Giovanni, and it seems
unreasonable to refuse to make any use of them because later
intarsiatori abused these means of gaining effect. The earliest work, it
is true, depends mainly upon silhouette for its beauty, but does not
altogether disdain lines within the main outline, and the abandonment of
these inner lines, whether made by graver or saw, so reduces the
possibilities of choice of subject as to restrict the designer to a
simplicity which is apt to become bald. A great deal may be done by
choice of pieces of wood and arrangement of the direction of the
lines of the grain; some of Fra Giovanni's perspectives show very
suggestive skies made in this manner, and Fra Damiano was very
successful in thus suggesting the texture of much veined and coloured
marble and of rocks, but directly the human figure enters into the
design these expedients are felt to be insufficient and inexpressive,
and inner lines have perforce to be introduced. The opposite extreme is
such work as the panels by the brothers Caniana in the Colleoni Chapel
at Bergamo, in which the composition and drawing of the figures recall
the designs of the Caracci, and the technique of the shading reminds one
of a copper plate, while the tinting and gradation of the colours take
away all impression of a work in wood, substituting that of a coloured
engraving. Here it is quite evident that the desire to imitate pictorial
qualities has led the craftsman far away from what should have been his
aim, viz., to display the qualities of the material which he was using
to the best advantage, consistently with the position and purpose of his
work in it. Not that perfection of workmanship is to be decried, though
it is only occasionally that one is able to make use of, or indeed
produce it. But the æsthetic sense demands that consideration for
material and purpose in every production which the joy and pride of the
craftsman in overcoming difficulties sometimes prevents him from
giving. Notwithstanding the beauty of much of the marquetry of the
periods of Louis XIV. and Louis XV., one often feels that design has
been put to one side in the endeavour to gain a realistic effect, and
the same defect may be traced more clearly in the clumsier Dutch and
German productions. Even in the Italian work of an earlier date every
now and then the same fault peeps out, though the excellent taste of the
nation at that period prevented the Italians from falling into such
excesses, and one generally feels the wood even in their most elaborate
perspectives. It may be asserted in a general way that the more colours
are used the less likelihood is there of the effect being quite
satisfactory, and that any light and shade introduced should be of the
simplest kind. A slight darkening of parts of the wood to gain a certain
suggestion of roundness is quite admissible, but the expedient should be
used with discretion, lavish employment of it leading to heaviness of
effect and a monotony of tone which are most unpleasing. If ivory or
metals are introduced the greatest care is necessary to prevent them
from giving a spotty and uneven effect to the design, for neither these
two materials nor mother-of-pearl marry quite with the tone of the wood;
and this inequality is likely to increase with age, as the wood becomes
richer and mellower in colour. Such materials should be so used that
the points where they occur may form a pattern in themselves
independently of the rest of the design, so that the effect may be
pleasing at first sight, before the general meaning of the less
prominent details is realised. Any other way of using them courts
failure, since the effect of the whole design is ruined by the
uncalculated prominence and inequality of these materials here and
there. The Dutch sometimes made use of mother-of-pearl, in pieces upon
which engraving broke up the hard glitter of the material, mingled with
brass wire and nails or studs driven into the surface of the wood. The
two materials appear to be quite harmonious, and small articles
decorated in this manner are effective and satisfactory. The Italian use
of ivory for the decoration of musical instruments, chess and backgammon
boards, and other small objects is almost always successful, the
proportion between wood and ivory being well judged, and the forms of
the ornament pleasing.

[Illustration: _To face page 122._

Plate 53.--_Panel from S. Maria in Organo, Verona._]

The modern French marquetry, though exceedingly clever and beautiful in
its use of various woods, errs by want of consideration of the surface
to be decorated, the subjects flowing over the surfaces and overflowing
the proper boundaries very often; and also sins in using many woods of
very slightly different tones and textures, which will almost certainly
lose their reciprocal relation in the course of time, and thereby their
decorative effect. The ancient intarsias were made of a small number of
different woods, and the effect was kept simple; pear, white poplar,
oak, walnut, and holly almost exhaust the list; while even Roentgen's
work, in which he used a larger number of woods, including some of those
foreign trees which Dutch commerce made available for him, has suffered
from their changing and fading. I would advise the marqueteur to
disregard most of the many foreign woods now in the market, and content
himself with simple and well-proved effects for the most part, trusting
rather to beauty of design to give distinction to his work than to
variety of colour and startling effects of contrast.

[Illustration: Plate 54.--_Panel from S. Maria in Organo, Verona._

_To face page 126._]

It is the fashion at the present day to exhort the designer to found his
design upon the study of nature, which is right enough if accompanied by
discretion and a feeling for style. In many mouths, however, the
exhortation means that the copying of natural forms is advised, and
often, if one may judge from the examples which one sees around one,
without selection either of subject or form. Now it is obvious that it
is sometimes the beauty of form in natural objects which attracts the
eye, and sometimes the beauty or strangeness of colours, either in their
combination or from the unusual tint. And while the former quality
fits the object for translation into ornament, by means of
simplification and repetition, the latter is more likely to be the
suggestive starting point for the production of something quite
different than a factor in a directly-derived composition. Certain forms
of flowers and leaves are also suitable for ornament expressed in a
certain way, and when this harmony occurs the representation of nature
is satisfactory as ornament; but the reverse is very often shown to be
the case in work of a more modern type, in which the design is based on
the dictum that the copying of natural forms will produce ornament. It
is not the copying of natural forms, but the ordering of the spaces, the
arranging and balancing of line and mass, and the adaptation of means to
ends which produce satisfactory decoration, and in the best Italian
intarsias founded upon freely-growing, natural plants this is well
shown. The observation of natural growth shown in illustrations Nos. 53,
54, and 55 is considerable, but the panels are not so beautiful because
the bay, the pink, or the lily are so well rendered, but because the
pattern of waving lines is so well fitted to the space it has to fill,
and the shapes of the silhouettes are so expressive. In the later French
marquetry we often find an equal or almost equal dexterity in expressing
the natural form, and an almost greater cleverness in adapting the
design to the material; but the Italian work has a fineness of style
shown in a grace of arrangement and of proportioning the ornament to the
space to be filled which is unsurpassable.

Certain remarks made by Mr. Stephen Webb, in a paper read to the Society
of Arts on April 28, 1899, as to the qualities which the designer or
craftsman must possess for successfully producing intarsia, are worth
reproducing here as the sayings of a man who himself has done much
beautiful work of the kind. "Tone harmony, and in a limited degree, the
sense of values, he must certainly cultivate. He must be able to draw a
line or combination of lines which _may_ be ingenious if you like, but
_must_ be delicate and graceful, vigorous withal, and in proper relation
to any masses which he may introduce into his design. He must thoroughly
understand the value of contrast in line and surface form, but these
matters, though a stumbling block to the amateur, are the opportunities
of the competent designer and craftsman. The most charming possibilities
of broken colour lie ready to his hand, to be merely selected by him and
introduced into his design. If the wood be properly selected shading is
rarely necessary, and if it is done at all should be done by an artist.
In the hands of an artist very beautiful effects may be obtained, the
same kind of wood being made to yield quite a number of varying shades
of colour of a low but rich tone. Over-staining and the abuse of shading
are destructive. Ivory has always been a favourite material with workers
in tarsia, and in the hands of an experienced designer very charming
things may be done with it. There is, however, no material suitable for
tarsia which requires so much care and experience in its use. It is
ineffective in light-coloured woods, and in the darker ordinary woods,
such as ebony, stained mahogany, or rosewood, under polish, the contrast
of colour is so great that the ivory must be used very sparingly. The
ivory is sometimes stained in order to bring its colour more into
harmony with a dark wood-ground, but it is never quite satisfactory. The
use of inlay makes the direction from which the light enters the room a
matter of no moment, so long as the light reaches the object decorated."

The effect of intarsia has been sought by various imitative processes,
some of which are indistinguishable from it except by close inspection.
In one of these wax, either in its natural state or tinted with an
addition of powder colour, was used; in another glue mixed with whiting
or plaster, also sometimes tinged, or red lead. On April 7, 1902, a
paper was read at the Royal Institute of British Architects on wax
stoppings of this kind by Mr. Heywood Sumner, in the course of which he
said that the process he himself had used was as follows:--"First trace
the design on the panel of wood to be incised; cut it, either with a V
tool or knife blade fixed in a tool-handle; clear out the larger spaces
with a small gouge, leaving tool-mark roughness in the bottoms for key;
when cut, stop the suction of the wood by several coats of white, hard
polish. For coloured stoppings, resin (as white as can be got), beeswax,
and powdered distemper are the three things needful. The melted wax may
be run into the incisions by means of a small funnel with handle and gas
jet affixed; it is attachable to the nearest gas burner by india-rubber
tubing, so that a regulated heat can be applied to the funnel. When thus
attached and heated, pieces of wax of the required inlay colour are
dropped into the funnel, and soon there will be a run of melted wax
dropping from the end of the funnel-spout, which is easily guided by
means of the wooden handle, and thus the entire panel may be inlaid with
the melted wax. Superfluous surface wax is cleared off with a broad
chisel, so as to make the whole surface flush. The suction of the wood
is stopped by means of white, hard polish, otherwise the hot wax will
enter the grain of the wood and stain it. Incised panels may be filled
successfully with japanner's gold size and powdered distemper colour,
using a palette knife to distribute the slab mixture. A close grain is
the one thing needful in the wood. As to design, that which is best
suited may be compared to a broad sort of engraving." Red lead was also
used sometimes, and in the furniture room at South Kensington there are
several chests and other pieces of furniture which have the incised
design filled in with a mixture of whiting, glue, and linseed oil.

[Illustration: Plate 55.--_Panel from S. Pietro in Casinense, Perugia._

_To face page 130._]

At Hardwick some of the door panels are painted with arabesques in
Indian ink, and varnished (a process also employed on several pieces of
furniture in the South Kensington collection), and even in certain
cases, no doubt under the direction of Bess of Hardwick, engravings have
been stuck on the panels, tinted, surrounded with similar painting, and
then similarly varnished over. The sacristy cupboards at S. Maria delle
Grazie, Milan, called "Lo Scaffale," show paintings of no less an artist
than Luini, the ornamental part of which is intended to simulate tarsia.

For small objects, such as trinket boxes, a marquetry of straw tinted to
different colours was sometimes employed, which, though not very
lasting, in the hands of a worker who possessed taste in colour
sometimes produced pleasing results, a form of work practised both in
Holland and England, and lasting well into the 19th century. The writer
possesses one or two objects decorated by this process which were bought
from the French prisoners taken in the Peninsular War, who provided
themselves with little luxuries by making and selling them. In all these
imitative processes the question of design becomes of the very highest
importance, since the material has neither beauty nor intrinsic value in
itself; and here, even more than in many other forms of manufacture, the
presence and influence of the intelligent designer is most desirable,
and should be paramount.


[4] In 1453 Matteo di Giovanni Bartoli, painter, says that he possesses
the half of certain tools and appliances of his art, which are not worth
20 florins, and that the other half belongs to Giovanni di Pietro,
painter, his partner. That they are in a house or dwelling that they
hire from Guicciardo Forteguerri in the Palazzo Forteguerri, which they
have as a house and not a shop, and that he has nothing else in the
world but a few debts (!). He says that he makes no profit, but is
learning as well as he can, and that his uncle, Ser Francescho di
Bartolo, the notary, keeps him. This is a young and promising artist who
cannot get on. Priamo della Quercia, brother of the celebrated sculptor
Jacopo della Fonte, painter, says that he is poor and without anything
to live on; that he has a girl of marriageable age and a young boy; that
he owes money to several people. He had a dower of 200 florins which
came from a possession which the nuns of Ogni Santi held, because they
said that they were heirs to his daughter-in-law, a nun in that convent
(!) and they had kept possession for six years and he could not sue
these nuns at law on account of his poverty. There are several documents
referring to money and property which his brother left to this man, but
which he seems to have difficulty in obtaining possession of, and he
gives one the impression of being unfortunate through life. In the same
year Antonio di Ser Naddo, painter, says he has a house with an oven
within the walls of Siena, "male in ponto," in which he lives in the
Contrada of Camporegi. That he has three useless mouths in the house
which gain nothing, two children, one a boy, and the other a girl of
marriageable age, but if he dowered her, so that she could be married,
he would have nothing to live on. Also that he owes 20 florins to
various people. In the same year others, both painters and woodworkers,
complain that they have nothing to live on and owe money, some saying
that they have become old and poor in the art. In 1478 Ventura di Ser
Giuliano, architect and woodcarver, says that he has a little house in
the city division in the place called of S. Salvador, and that he is
away at Naples because of his debts, for he is afraid to return. That he
owes Ser Biagio, the priest, 80 florins and other persons 402. In 1488
Giovanni di Cristofano Ghini, painter, says that he has a vineyard at
Terraia in the commune of S. Giorgio a Papaino from which he receives in
dues about 24 florins. That he has a wife and three sons and nothing to
keep them on. That five years ago he had sold all that he had in the
house, for times were very bad. That though he sticks to his work so
closely that he does not even go for a walk he has not made the bread
which he has eaten in the last six years. That he and his father have to
keep a sister who was married to Andreoccio d'Andrea di Pizichino with
her three little sons unless they are to die of hunger, and that they
have a girl of marriageable age in the house, his sister, "Che è il
fiorimento d'ognichosa." In the same year Benvenuto di Giovanni says
that he is obliged to work away from Siena because his gains are so
small; and finally in 1521, Ventura di Ser Giuliano di Tura petitions
the Balia as follows:--He was a master joiner and says that he passed
his youth and almost all his age in gathering ancient objects and
carvings, which the craftsmen of the city have copied, so that one may
say that the antique in the city has been re-discovered by his labours.
But that he has not by this benefit to the craftsmen provided for his
old age, since both he and his wife have been very unwell for years
past, and that he finds himself old, with four little daughters, "one no
heavier than the other," so he asks for a little pension of eight lire a
month (which has been suspended apparently), so that he may not have to
go to the hospital for bread with his wife and the four little ones.


The use of stains and chemical baths for changing the colour of the wood
employed by the intarsiatori was common from the time of Fra Giovanni da
Verona, to whom Vasari ascribes the invention, but is most distinctive
of the work of the later Dutch and French marqueteurs. Receipts for the
purpose were handed down from master to pupil, and while sometimes held
as traditional secrets to be jealously guarded, were sometimes committed
to writing; and several of these manuscripts have come down to us. The
following have been collected from French, German, and Italian sources,
and though not all of equal value, show the way in which the ancient
workers produced the effects, most of which we admire in the present

To stain wood yellow (No. 1).--Put saffron in water, and when it is well
steeped place the jar over hot coals. Then spread the stuff over boxwood
with a brush. To make it brilliant let it dry, and put it with oil on
the wood to be coloured. (No. 2.)--Take the plant turmeric (curcuma
longa), grind it to powder; put an ounce into a pint of spirit (12
oz.), and leave it for a day. If the tone is required reddish, add some
dragon's blood. (No. 3.)--A cheaper but duller colour is to be obtained
from steeped French berries, then dried, with weak alum water brushed
over it. Thin pieces are dipped in it. The solution of French berries
may be made thus--Take 1 lb. of French berries, and a gallon of water
with 1/2 oz. of alum; boil for an hour in a pewter vessel, and filter
through paper. Evaporate till the colour appears strong enough. Another
receipt says 4 oz. of French berries put to steep in a pint of water is
to have added to it 1 oz. of hazel nuts and as much alum. Wood may also
be stained yellow with _aqua fortis_, used warm, and then immediately
placed near the fire. The _aqua fortis_ must not be too strong, or the
wood will go brown or black. This is apparently the same thing as Vasari
calls "oil of sulphur," used in his time for colouring wood. A Nuremberg
receipt book says that the plant Tournesol (croton tinctorium) may be
steeped in water, and this solution mixed with yellow colour and glue
may be spread over the wood warm, and finally polished with a burnisher.
Holtzapffel gives the following:--A bright yellow stain may be obtained
from 2 oz. of turmeric allowed to simmer for some hours in 1 quart of
water in an earthen vessel, water being added from time to time to
replace evaporation. Sparingly applied cold, it stains white woods the
colour of satin wood. A canary yellow results from immersing the wood in
the liquid, which can be rendered permanent without polishing by a
strong solution of common salt. Washing the stained surface with
nitro-muriate of tin for about a minute changes the colour to orange.
The work should then be well rinsed in plain water to check the further
action of the acid. Treating the canary yellow with 2 oz. of sulphate of
iron dissolved in 3 quarts of water, after it has been allowed to dry,
dyes a delicate olive brown. A tincture of 1/4 oz. of turmeric to 3 oz.
of spirits of wine, allowed to stand for some days and well shaken
daily, gives a rather higher colour.

Red may be produced by (No. 1) taking a pound of Brazil wood, with some
rain water, a handful of unslaked lime, and two handsful of ashes; soak
all for half an hour in water, "cook" it, and pour it out into another
pot, in which is a measure of gum arabic. The wood to be coloured must
be cooked in alum water, and then brushed over with the warm colour; the
result is a splendid scarlet red. If the wood was first grounded with
saffron water and then had the Brazil decoction applied, the result was
orange; a spoonful of lye made a browner colour, with a little alum. If
whiter wood was taken the colour was correspondingly brighter. (No.
2.)--Orcanda or Akanna root powdered, with nut oil, gives a fine red.
(No. 3.)--Put lime in rain water, strain it, scrape Brazil twigs in it,
then proceed as in No. 1. You can also soak the Brazil in tartar. The
same colour with Tournesol steeped in water gives a fine purple when
spread on the wood. Lebrun gives the same receipt, adding that the
beauty of the colour is increased by rubbing with oil, and that pear
wood is the best to use. Another receipt says:--Make a strong infusion
of Brazil wood in stale urine or water impregnated with pearl ash, 1 oz.
to a gallon; to a gallon of either of which put 1 lb. of Brazil wood.
Let it stand for two or three days, often stirring it. Strain the
infusion, and brush over the wood boiling hot; then, while still wet,
brush over with alum water, 2 oz. to a quart of water. A less bright red
may be made with 1 oz. of dragon's blood in a pint of spirits of wine,
brushed over the wood.

Holtzapffel gives for red stains the following:--Dragon's blood, an East
Indian resin, gives a crimson with a purple tinge. Put a small quantity
in an open vessel, and add sufficient linseed oil to rather more than
cover it; it will be fit for use in a few days, when the oil may be
poured off and more added. This dissolves more readily in oil than
spirit. The colouring matter of Alkanet root, from which another red
may be obtained, is contained in the rind, so that small pieces are the
most useful. A deep red of a crimson character may be made with 1/2 oz.
of raspings of Brazil wood macerated in 3 oz. of alcohol. A wash of
logwood (see below) given with the brush, and when dry followed with a
wash of Brazil, produces a deep, full colour, and when the two are
applied in the reverse order a more brilliant colour of the same kind. A
decoction of Brazil (4 oz.) allowed to simmer for some hours in 1 quart
of water yields a rather brown-red stain. Treating light woods so
stained with nitro-muriate of tin gives a brilliant crimson of a purple

A brown red is made from a decoction of 2 oz. of logwood dust in 1 quart
of water, or 1/2 oz. of logwood in 3 oz. of alcohol. Nitro-muriate of
tin used on it gives a deep, dusky crimson purple. The same treated with
alum solution yields a medium purple, darker and bluer than that from

White wood stained with Brazil and then treated with alum (4 oz.
dissolved in a quart of water) acquires a light pink tinge. Another
receipt for pink or rose red says:--1 gallon of infusion of Brazil wood,
with 2 oz. additional of pearl ash; but it is necessary to brush the
wood often with alum water. By increasing the proportion of pearl ash
the red may be made still paler, in which case make the alum water

For purple one brushes the wood over several times with a strong
decoction of logwood and Brazil, 1 lb. of logwood and 1/4 lb. of Brazil
to a gallon of water boiled for an hour or more. When the wood is dark
enough let it dry, and then lightly pass over with a solution of 1
drachm of pearl ash to a quart of water. Use this carefully, as the
colour changes quickly from brown red to dark purple.

Jet black may be made by using the logwood stain, followed by a solution
of iron, 1 oz. sulphate of iron to 1 quart of water, and a less intense
black by the same mixture about three times diluted. The Italian receipt
books are well provided with receipts for producing black, which
suggests that most of the ebony used in inlay was factitious. A 15th
century MS. says:--"Take boxwood, and lay in oil with sulphur for a
night, then let it stew for an hour, and it will become as black as
coal." Evidently this means what Vasari calls oil of sulphur, _aqua
fortis_. Others are founded upon the application of a solution of
logwood, followed by one of iron. "Stew logwood till the liquid is
reduced to one-third of its bulk, mix with stone alum, and leave for
three days. Mix iron filings with very strong wine, and let it stand for
twenty-four hours. On the quantity of iron filings the depth of the tone
depends. Lastly, ox-gall is dissolved in this mixture, and the whole is
three times worked over." An English receipt says:--"Brush the wood over
several times with a hot decoction of logwood; take 1/4 lb. of powdered
galls, and set in the sun or other gentle heat in 2 quarts of water for
three or four days; brush the wood over with it three or four times,
and, while wet, with a solution of green vitriol in water, 2 oz. to a
quart; or use a solution of copper in _aqua fortis_, then the solution
of logwood, and repeat until black enough." A German receipt
says:--"Take half a measure of iron filings and a pennyweight of sal
ammoniac, and put into a pot of vinegar; let it stand for twelve days at
least. In another pot put blue Brazil and 3 measures of bruised gall
apples in strong lime lye, and let it stand for the same time. The wood
must be first washed over with lye, and then with hot vinegar, and
finally polished with wax." "Pear wood may be grounded with Brazil
steeped in alum water, then coloured with the black which the
leather-stainers use, twenty times." Another says:--"Take a pennyweight
of fine silver, with a pound of _aqua fortis_; add a measure of water,
and soak the wood with it." The best wood for imitating ebony is holly;
also, box cooked in olive oil is good for it, or well-planed pear soaked
with _aqua fortis_, and then coloured with ink several times; or stew
the wood in lamp-black, and soak with oil.

Blue may be obtained by the use of a solution of copper brushed hot over
the wood several times; then brush hot a solution of pearl ash, 2 oz. to
a pint of water, until the wood becomes perfectly blue. The copper
solution is prepared in this way:--"Take of the refiner's solution of
copper made in the precipitation of silver from the spirit of nitre; or
dissolve copper in spirit of nitre, or _aqua fortis_, by throwing in
filings or putting in strips of copper gradually till all effervescence
ceases. Add to it starch finely powdered, one-fifth or one-sixth of the
weight of copper dissolved. Make a solution of pearl ash and filter it;
put gradually to the solution of copper as much as will precipitate the
whole of the copper. The fluid becomes colourless. Wash the powder, and
when so well drained of water by means of a filter as to be of the
proper consistence, grind well together, and lay out to dry. This makes
dark verditer." Indigo may also be used, prepared with soap lees as when
used by dyers; brush it over the wood boiling hot. With a solution of
cream of tartar, 3 oz. to a quart of water, and boiled, brush over the
wood copiously before the moisture is quite dried out. A German receipt
says:--Put 4 oz. of Tournesol in three parts of lime water to cook for
an hour and spread it on the wood. "Wood coloured green with verdigris
can be made blue by using pearl ash." This is the process described

For green verdigris dissolved in vinegar may be used; or crystals of
verdigris in water, brushed hot over the wood. A 15th century MS. gives
a traditional mode thus:--"Wood, bone, small leaves, and knife handles
can be made green by strong, red vinegar and brass filings mixed
together with a little Roman vitriol and stone alum in a glass vessel.
When it has stood for a day the object is dipped in it, and steeps
itself in the liquid. The colour will be very permanent." A German
receipt says:--"Take walnut shells from the green fruit, and put in very
strong lye with some copper vitriol and alum to stew for two or three
hours. The wood must be put in strong wine vinegar for several days,
then it is put in the above-mentioned mixture, to which ground verdigris
mixed with vinegar is added. Or you can mix this ground verdigris with
vinegar with some winestone, let it clarify, and spread the wood with
the filtered stuff. The addition of saffron makes a grass green."

A silver grey may be given to white wood by immersion in a decoction of
4 oz. of sumach in 1 quart of water, and afterwards in a very dilute
solution of sulphate of iron. A dilute solution of bichromate of potash
is frequently employed to darken oak, mahogany, and coloured woods. This
should be used carefully, since its effects are not altogether stopped
by thoroughly washing the wood with water when dark enough. To bleach
woods, immerse them in a strong, hot solution of oxalic acid.

Since ivory is often used in inlaying and is sometimes stained, a few
receipts for its staining will not be out of place. These come from
Holtzapffel's book:--A pale yellow will be given by immersing the ivory
for one minute in the tepid stain given by 60 grains of saffron boiled
for some hours in half-a-pint of water. Immersion for from five to
fifteen minutes produces a canary yellow brighter or deeper according to
the time given, but all somewhat fugitive. A stain from 4 oz. of fustic
dust and chips boiled in 1 quart of water produces similar but somewhat
darker and more permanent results. Ivory subjected to either of these
stains for fifteen minutes, and then placed for one to three minutes in
Brazil water stain acquires an orange colour. If then treated with
nitro-muriate of tin, an orange of a brighter, redder tone is produced;
transfer to a clean water bath directly the required colour appears, as
the nitro-muriate of tin acts very rapidly upon the ivory.

Fine scarlet cloth is used for dyeing various tones of red. A piece
about a foot square may be cut into shreds and boiled, with the addition
of 10 grains of pearl ash, in half-a-pint of water from 5 to 6 hours.
Immersion in the liquid for from three to ten minutes gives tones of
pink; for one hour and subsequently for half-an-hour in an alum mordant
gives a pink of a bright crimson character. When the ivory is from two
to three hours in the tepid stain a crimson red results, and the
addition of 1 part of sulphuric acid to 60 of stain gives billiard ball
colour. Pinks of a different and duller full tone may be obtained by
immersion for three minutes in Brazil water stain, followed by treatment
with nitro-muriate of tin; when the Brazil is used for six minutes a
deeper colour results. Fifteen minutes in Brazil, then treatment with
nitro-muriate of tin and immediate washing gives a duller and deeper red
than the first red-cloth stain. The depth of colour may be increased by
longer immersion _or_ a higher temperature. A dull scarlet or brick red
is made by the Brazil bath, followed by thirty to sixty minutes in an
alum mordant.

The cloth stain for one hour, followed by pearl ash for half-an-hour,
gives a bright purple; if iron is used instead of pearl ash a sombre
purple results; if you add alkalies to the stain instead of sulphuric
acid you obtain purple reds. Fifteen minutes in Brazil, and then three
or four in pearl ash gives full red purples deepening to maroon. Five
minutes in logwood water stain gives a good warm brown; half-an-hour, a
chocolate brown. Ten minutes in logwood stain, washing, and one or two
seconds in pearl ash, and instantly washing again gives a deep red
brown, and if one minute in alum instead of pearl ash a deep purple

Blue stains may be made from sulphate of indigo, 1/2 drachm to 1 pint of
previously boiled water, with 10 grains of carbonate of potash added.
One to two minutes' immersion and immediate washing yields a delicate
turquoise, five minutes a bright full blue; and ten to fifteen a
considerable depth of colour. Blues are rather fugitive. Staining with
saffron or fustic for five minutes, and then with indigo for the same
time, produces a clear pea green; with indigo for ten minutes, a deep
grass green. The greens from fustic are more permanent and yellower. The
sequence of the stains also affects the green, the last used having most
effect. Blue stain first for fifteen minutes, followed by fustic for
thirty, stains ivory the green used for table knife handles--a colour
which may also be obtained by immersion for some weeks in a clear
solution of verdigris in dilute vinegar and water.

Before applying these stains the ivory must be prepared by first
polishing with whiting and water and washing quite clean. Next immerse
it for three to five minutes in acid cold water (1 part muriatic acid to
40 or 50 of water, or the same proportion of nitric). This extracts the
gelatine from the surface of the ivory. Extreme cleanliness and absence
of grease or soiling is most important; the ivory is not to be touched
by the fingers, but removed from one vessel to another by wooden tongs,
one pair to each colour. After treating with the acid, place the ivory
in clean, cold, boiled water for some minutes. Water stains are used,
but strained or filtered and warm or only tepid, for fear of injuring
the surface of the ivory. Increasing the temperature also sometimes
deepens or changes the colour. The best temperature is 100 deg. Fahr.
When sufficiently stained the ivory is well rinsed in water, and if
there are two colours on top of each other always well rinsed before
going into the second bath. After thoroughly drying, repolish by
friction, first with a few drops of oil on a soft clean rag; continue
with a dry clean rag till the oil disappears.

An old Italian receipt for polishing wood blackened to imitate ebony
runs thus:--"Is the wood to be polished with burnt pumice stone? Rub the
work carefully with canvas and this powder, then wash the piece with
Dutch lime water so that it may be more beautifully polished. Then it is
to be cleaned with another cloth. Then the rind of a pomegranate must be
steeped, and the wood smeared over with it and set to dry, but in the



  Angelo di Lazzero, of Arezzo, 19

  Anselmo de' Fornari, 77-78

  Antique inlaid furniture, 2, 3, 6 (note)

  Antonio da Melaria, 35

  Antonio di Minella, of Siena, 10

  Antonio Manetti, 19

  Antonio Paolo Martini, 13

  Assisi, 10, 46
  ---- Stalls of the Upper church of S. Francesco, 46

  Arezzo, S. Agostino and S. Michele, 41

  Augsburg work, 85, 90


  Baccio Albini, 40

  Baccio d'Agnolo, 42-43

  Barck, Klaus, 88

  Barili, Antonio, of Siena, 37, 38, 39
  ---- ---- Panel in K.K. Museum at Vienna, 37, 38
  ---- ---- description of Chapel of S. Giovanni, Siena, 39, 40, 41
  ---- Giovanni, 39

  Bartolommeo Poli, surnamed dalla Polla, 35, 36

  Beck, Sebald, 84

  Belli, Giovanni and Alessandro, 73

  Bencivieni da Mercatello da Massa, Antonio di, 46-51

  Benedetto da Majano, Vasari's story of the reason of his giving up
    working in tarsia, 20

  Bergamo, Choir of S. Maria Maggiore, 79, 80
  ---- Tassi's account of, 80
  ---- Stalls in church of S. Stefano, 76

  Bernardo di Tommaso di Ghigo, 19

  Bernardino da Lendinara, 32

  Brescia, Lectern from Rodengo in

  Galleria Tosi, 64

  Bologna, S. Domenico tarsie, by Fra Damiano, 70, 73, 75
  ---- Sabba Castiglione's account, 74, 75
  ---- Stalls in S. Giovanni in Monte, 66
  ---- S. Michele in Bosco, stalls now in S. Petronio, 65, 66
  ---- S. Petronio, 36

  Boulle, André Charles, 96, 97
  ---- Works by him, 97, 98, 99

  Boulle, Pierre, 75-96


  Canozio, of Lendinara, Lorenzo Genesino, 29

  Capo di Ferro of Lodi, Zinino and Pietro, 80

  Capo di Ferro of Lovere, Giovanni Francesco, 73, 79

  Capra, Gabriel and Domenico, 54

  Chapel of Palace, Siena, 13

  Cecca, Il (Francesco d'Agnolo), 23, 24

  Certosa, Pavia, 35

  Cervelliera, Giovanni Battista, 22

  Character of German inlays of late 16th Century, 85

  Coburg, Hornzimmer, 86

  Cornier, Conrad, 88

  Cost of choir of S. Domenico, Bologna, 73

  Cost of the stalls in Ferrara Cathedral, 34

  Cost of stalls, Cathedral Orvieto, 10

  Cremona, church of S. Sigismond, outside, 54

  Cypress chest of 1350 in Victoria and Albert Museum, 104


  Daniello di Neri Martini, 13

  Danzig Sommerrathstube, 86

  David of Pistoia, 41

  Del Tasso, arms of the family, 24
  ---- Chimenti di Domenico, 26
  ---- Chimenti di Francesco, 25
  ---- Domenico, 19, 25, 26
  ---- Francesco, 27
  ---- Francesco di Domenico, 24
  ---- Giambattista called Maestro Tasso, 27, 28
  ---- Lionardo, 25
  ---- Marco, 26
  ---- Zanobi, 25

  Della Rocca, Andrea and Elia, 77, 78

  Designs for intarsia made by Painters, 121

  De' Marchi, Pantaleone, stalls in Museum at Berlin, 36

  Domenico da Gajuolo, 42

  Domenico di Mariotto, 21

  Domenico di Nicolò of Siena, 10, 11

  Domenico Tassi of Florence, 17

  Dreyer, Hans and Jürgen, of Schleswig, 87

  Dutch work, characteristics of, 92


  Eck, Adam, 85

  Elfen, brothers, of S. Michael, Hildesheim, 84

  Escurial, rooms in, decorated with inlays, 86

  Evers, Antonia, master of joiners' guild at Lübeck, 86


  Ferrara, stalls in Cathedral, 33

  Fischer, N., and Johann Georg of Munich, 85

  Florence, 16, 18
  ---- stalls at S. Maria Novella, 42
  ---- stalls at S. Miniato, 42
  ---- tarsia in sacristy of the Cathedral, 18, 19

  Flotner, Peter, 89

  Folding seat of 14th century, 84

  Fra Antonio Asinelis, 73

  Fra Antonio da Lunigiano, Dominican, 73

  Fra Antonio da Viterbo, Dominican, 76

  Fra Bernardino, Dominican, 73

  Fra Damiano of Bergamo, 69-76, 79

  Fra Damiano of Bergamo, the Emperor Charles V., and the Duke of
    Ferrara, 70, 71, 72

  Fra Giovanni da Verona, 17, 57, 63

  Fra Raffaello da Brescia, 63, 64

  Fra Sebastian da Rovigno, 56, 57

  Fra Vincenzo da Verona, called dalla Vacche, 67

  Francesco di Lorenzo, Zambelli, 73, 77

  Francesco Manciatto, 42

  Francione, Il (Giovanni di Matteo di Firenze), 21

  French Cabinets of 17th Century, 95, 96


  Genoa, stalls in Cathedral, 77, 78

  Geri of Arezzo, 41

  German intarsiatori of 16th and 17th Century, 84, 85

  Gilling Castle, near Wakefield, inlays, 93

  Giovanni di Filippo da Fiesole, 45

  Giovanni de Grassi (Giovanni de Melano), 14

  Giovanni di Lodovico di Magno of Siena, 10

  Giovanni Michele de Pantaleone, 77

  Giovanni del Mulinella of Florence, 17

  Giovanni Piccardo, 77

  Giovanni di Ponteranica and his four sons, 80

  Giovanni di Ser Giovanni detto Scheggione, 19

  Giovanni Talini of Siena, 10

  Girolamo della Cecca, 40

  Giuliano di Salvatore, 21

  Giusto di Francesco of Incisa, 45

  Glastonbury Hall, Staircase, 94

  Gole, Pierre, 92

  Gottlieb, Conrad, 86

  Gottorp, Castle of, Prince's prayer chamber in, 87

  Gubbio, tarsia in study of Duke Guidobaldo, 52, 53

  Guido da Seravallino, 21

  Guido di Torino, 13

  Guild of Painters, Siena, 16


  Hans Schieferstein's Cabinet at Dresden, 90

  Hardwick Hall, furniture at, 93

  Herle, Simon, 86

  Heywood Sumner, paper at Royal Institute of British Architects, 129, 130


  Imitative processes, straw, wax, painting in Indian ink, &c., 129,
    130, 131

  Inlaid work, Greek and Latin names for, 3
  ---- woods used for, by the ancients, 3, 5, 6 (note)
  ---- wood, cost of, in ancient times, 4

  Inlaying, antiquity of, 2

  Innsbruck, Hofkirche, 86

  Intarsia, derivation of, 1

  Invention of stains for wood, by Fra Giovanni da Verona, 18

  Ivory or metals in intarsia, 124, 125


  Jacopo da Villa, 21

  Joiners' tools, priced list of Perugian of 1496, 47, 48


  Kellerthaler, Hans, of Dresden, 85

  Kiening, Isaac, of Frissen, 91

  Kraus, Hans, marqueteur du roi, 94


  Lavoro alla Certosa, or tarsia alla Certosina, 9

  Leipzig Museum, Cabinet in, 91

  Lendinara, Cristophano d' Andrea da, 21

  Limitations of the art of intarsia, 122, 123

  Loblein, Sixtus, of Landshut, 91

  Lodi, Stalls in S. Bernardino, by Fra Giovanni da Verona, 63

  Louvre, 4 panels from S. Benedetto Novella, Padua, of Fra Vincenzo
    dalla Vacche, 68

  Lübeck, Kriegs Stube, 86

  Lucca, panels in sacristy of Cathedral, by Christoforo da Lendinara, 32
  ---- Stalls from Cathedral in Pinacotheca, 32

  Luchet, M., Excursus on furniture in France, 1867, 113, 114

  Lüneburg, Rathsaal, 86


  Macé, Jean, of Blois, 92-95

  Majano, Benedetto da, 19, 20

  Majano, Giuliano di Nardo da, 18, 22
  ---- Leonardo d' Antonio da, 19

  Manuello, of Siena, 9

  Marchi, of Crema, Family of, 6, 36

  Mariotto di Mariotto, of Pesaro, 45

  Marquetry, Derivation of, 1

  Marti, Leonardo, 32

  Masi, Antonio di Antonio, The Fleming, 46

  Massari, Andrea, of Siena, 54

  Mastei, Antonio, of Gubbio, 53

  Mastro Crespolto, of Perugia, 26

  Mastro Vanni di Tura dell' Ammanato, Sienese, 10

  Matteo di Bernardino, of Florence, 17

  Meo di Nuti, of Siena, 10

  Michele Spagnuolo, 21

  Milan, Cathedral, 15

  Minelli, Giovanni and Cristoforo de, 45

  Miniatures at Villanova, by Fra Giovanni da Verona, 59

  Minnesinger's harp, of 14th Century, 8

  Modern French marquetry, 125

  Monte Oliveto, 55, 59, 60

  Musée Cluny, wire-drawing bench made for Augustus, Elector of Saxony, 91


  Naples, tarsia by Fra Giovanni da Verona in S. Anna dei Lombardi, 61, 62

  Nicolò di Nicoluccio, 10

  Nuremberg work in ebony and ivory, 90


  [OE]ben, J. F., ébeniste du roi, 99

  Orvieto, 10, 13


  Padua, stalls in Church of S. Antonio, account by Matteo Colaccio, 30, 31

  Paint and gilding added to intarsia work, 106

  Paolo da Pesaro, 80

  Parti of Siena, 9

  Perugia, 10, 19, 26
  ---- choir of the Cathedral, 19
  ---- choir of S. Domenico, 26
  ---- door in choir of S. Pietro in Casinense by Fra Damiano, 74
  ---- Sala del Cambio, 26, 46
  ---- stalls of S. Agostino, 44

  Pier Antonio dell 'Abate of Modena, 29

  Pietro Antonio of Florence, 17

  Pietro di Maffeis, 73

  Pietro di Miaella of Siena, 10

  Pietro di Rizzardi, 33

  Pisa Cathedral, 21, 22, 23

  Polimante da Nicola, 26

  Pontelli, Baccio, 21

  Portuguese decorations with pierced metal plates, 83

  Poverty of craftsmen, Domenico del Coro, 10, 12

  Preuszen, Hans, carver, 87


  Realism in intarsia panels, 105

  Reasons for beauty in designs, 127

  Reggio in Emilia, 35

  Relief intarsia or Präger arbeit, 85

  Returns made by Sienese craftsman for taxation, 119, 120

  Riesener, J. Henry, 99, 100

  Roentgen, David, 102, 103

  Rome, doors of St. Peter's, by Fra Antonio da Viterbo, 76, 77

  Rosenfeldt, Jochim, 87


  S. Mary Overie, Southwark, parish chest, 93

  Sallig, Andreas, 87

  San Sevrino, Domenico di, 46

  Savona, choir of, Cathedral, 78

  Schieferstein, Hans, 85, 90

  Scraping and polishing marquetry, operation of, 115, 116

  Shading of subjects in marquetry, 112

  Siena, 9, 10, 13, 16, 37, 60

  Simone d'Antonio of Siena, 13

  Sizergh Castle, panelling from, 93

  South German Bride chests, 89

  South German inlaid Musical Instruments, 88

  Spanish inlaid work in Victoria and Albert Museum, 81, 82


  Taddeo Bartoli's designs for chapel of Palazzo Pubblico, Siena, 11

  Tassi, Domenico of Florence, 17

  Tasso, Maestro, his practical joke on the Benedictine Abbot, 28

  Technical description from German book of 17th century, 106

  Thickness of veneers in the market, 112

  Tommaso di Ceccolo, 10

  Tonbridge ware, 9

  To stain ivory blue, 144

  To stain ivory green, 144

  To stain ivory orange, 142

  To stain ivory purple, 143

  To stain ivory various kinds of red, 142, 143

  To stain ivory yellow, 142

  To stain wood black, 138, 139

  To stain wood blue, 140

  To stain wood green, 141

  To stain wood pink, 137

  To stain wood purple, 137, 138

  To stain wood red, 135, 136, 137

  To stain wood silver grey, 141

  To stain wood yellow, 133, 134


  Uhr, Herman, 87, 88

  Ulriksdal Castle, doors of drinking room, 92

  Union of the crafts in one guild, 14

  Urbino, tarsia in palace of Frederic of Montefeltro, 49, 50, 51

  Use of mother-of-pearl, ivory, tortoiseshell, silver, &c., 54


  Vasari's opinion of tarsia, 17

  Veneering, operation of, 108

  Veneers for marquetry, thickness of, 109, 110

  Venice, Sacristy of S. Elena, 57, 58

  Venice, tarsia in Sacristy of S. Mark's, 67, 68, 69

  Verona, Sacristy of S. Anastasia, 10

  Volthurn Castle, near Brixen, 90

  Von Soest, Albert, 86

  Vordt, 92

  Vriese, Vriedemann, 86


  Wallace Collection, Cabinet by Claude Charles Saunier, 95

  Wallace Collection, Cabinets by Oeben and Riesener, 99, 100

  Wallace Collection, jewel box by Conrad Cornier, 88

  Webb, Stephen, paper at the Society of Arts, 128

  Wegener, Adam, figure cutter, 87

  Weiskopf, Wolf, 84

  Winkler, Simon, 85

  Wood, exceptional scantlings used by the ancients, 6, 7

  Woods, combinations of, for marquetry, 111

  Woods in use in England for marquetry, 112
  ---- used by the marqueteurs of Nice, 115
  ---- used by Riesener, 101
  ---- used in Barili's panel, 38
  ---- used in the best period, 106
  ---- used in stalls, Cathedral, Orvieto, 10
  ---- used on the Continent for veneers, 111


  Zambelli, of Bergamo, Stefano di Antoniuolo de, 46, 73

  Zampiero da Padova, 73

  Zanetto da Bergamo, 72, 73

_Willam Hodge & Co., Glasgow and Edinburgh_

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