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Title: Historic Ornament, Vol. 2 (of 2) - Treatise on decorative art and architectural ornament
Author: Ward, James
Language: English
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                          Transcriber’s Note:

This version of the text cannot represent certain typographical effects.
Italics are delimited with the ‘_’ character as _italic_. Superscripted
characters are shown as, e.g., ‘I^{er}’.

The single footnote has been placed to follow the paragraph in which it
was referenced.

There are copious illustrations, which appear here as [Illustration:
], and have been moved slightly to fall on paragraph breaks.

Minor errors, attributable to the printer, have been corrected. Please
see the transcriber’s note at the end of this text for details regarding
the handling of any textual issues encountered during its preparation.


  From an edition of “Herodotus”
  _Printed at Venice in the year 1470._

                           HISTORIC ORNAMENT

                          =Treatise on=

                             DECORATIVE ART


                         ARCHITECTURAL ORNAMENT

                      GLASS; AND BOOK DECORATION_

                               JAMES WARD


                                 *   *

        =With Three Hundred and Seventeen Illustrations=




This work is a continuation of the former volume on the subject of
Historic Ornament, and treats of the historical development of ornament
and decoration as illustrated in furniture, pottery, enamels, ivories,
metal work, including goldsmiths’, silversmiths’, and jewellers’ work,
textile fabrics, mosaic, glass, and book decoration.

Though each volume may be considered complete in itself as far as it has
been possible to consider the subjects therein treated in the dimensions
of this work, at the same time the student is respectfully advised to
read both volumes, as a few subjects which are necessarily only slightly
noticed in the former treatise, particularly those belonging to the
Minor Arts, are more fully treated in the present work.

                                                            J. WARD.



                               CHAPTER I.


                               CHAPTER II.


                              CHAPTER III.

 IVORY CARVINGS                                                      139

                               CHAPTER IV.


                               CHAPTER V.


                               CHAPTER VI.


                              CHAPTER VII.

 MOSAICS                                                             344

                              CHAPTER VIII.

 GLASS                                                               365

                               CHAPTER IX.

 THE DECORATION OF BOOKS                                             389

                         LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.


   FIG.                                                          PAGE
        Border from an edition of Herodotus            _Frontispiece_
   295. Alabastron, Phœnician                                     366
    98. Altar, Portable, German                                   116
   151. Altar Front, Golden, Basle                                188
   271. Archer, Norman, from the Bayeux Tapestry                  321
   227. Bedroom Interior, Fourteenth Century                      254
   136. Bell Shrine of St. Patrick’s                              172
    73. Bellarmine, Fulham Stoneware                               83
   234. Bellows, Italian                                          262
   117. Bone Carving, Pastoral Staff, English                     147
   315. Book, Cover of; Henri-Deux Style                          404
   316. “Book of the Hours,” Cover for, designed by               406
          Geoffry Tory
    31. Bottle, Pilgrim’s, Urbino Ware                             35
    51. Bottle, Pilgrim’s, Nevers Ware                             57
    53.    ”      ”      ”                                         59
   297. Bottle, Glass, Ancient Roman                              369
   299. Bottle, Glass, and Mosque Lamp, Enamelled                 372
   184. Bowl, Eighteenth Century                                  215
     5. Bowl, Samian                                                5
    41. Bowl, Blue Persian                                         45
    79. Bowl of Chelsea-Derby Porcelain                            92
    84. Bowl of Tobacco-pipe, Worcester Ware                       98
   157. Bowl, Mazer, Ironmongers’ Hall                            193
   309. Bowl, Glass, Chinese                                      387
   245. Bracket, English Carved                                   278
   193. Bracelet, Silver, Bengal                                  223
   213. Bronze Tripod, Greco-Roman                                245
   137. Brooch, Tara                                              173
   138. Brooch, Tara, reverse                                     174
   270. Brocade, Velvet, Italian                                  315
   243. Cabinet, Boulle                                           275
   244. Cabinet or Armoire, Boulle                                276
   238. Cabinet, French                                           266
   250. Cabinet Marquetry, with Sèvres Plaques                    285
   256. Cabinet, Japanese, and Porcelain Dish                     291
   215. Candelabra, Roman Bronze                                  246
   217. Candelabrum Roman, Marble                                 247
    66. Candelabrum, Dresden                                       75
   183. Candelabrum, Silver                                       215
    47. Candlestick, Henri-Deux Ware                               52
   133. Candlestick, Base of, Milan Cathedral                     169
   152. Candlestick, Gloucester                                   189
   153. Candlestick, Seven-branched, Cathedral of                 190
   154. Candlestick, Lower Boss of the Milan                      191
   173. Candlestick, Bronze, Italian                              207
   189. Candlestick, Silver-gilt, Louis Seize                     217
   190. Candlestick, Silver-gilt, Italian                         218
   273. Carpet, Embroidered Persian                               323
   230. Carriage, Travelling, English                             256
   231.    ”         ”      ”                                     256
   176. Casket, Silver                                            210
    29. Castel-Durante Ware                                        32
   156. Censer                                                    193
   134. Chair of Dagobert                                         170
   209. Chair, Greek                                              243
   211.    ”      ”   ”                                           244
   219. Chair, Marble, Roman                                      248
   229. Chair, Coronation, Westminster Abbey                      255
   235. Chair, Italian, Sixteenth Century                         263
   237. Chair decorated with Gauffered Leather                    265
   253. Chairs, Parlour, by Chippendale                           288
   254. Chairs in Chinese style, by Chippendale                   289
   102. Chalice of Ardagh                                         120
   145. Chalice, Spanish                                          181
   159. Chalices, Gothic                                          195
   160. Chalice                                                   196
   161.    ”                                                      196
   162. Chalice, German                                           196
   163. Chalice, Spanish                                          196
   164. Chalice, English, Oxford                                  197
   131. Chimera, Bronze, at Florence                              164
   186. Chocolate Pot                                             216
   121. Coffer in Bone, Carved and Engraved                       150
   233. Coffer, Marriage, of Carved Wood, Italian Work            260
   248. Commode with Lac Panels and Mounts, by                    282
   111. Coronation of Virgin, Ivory Caning, French                141
   218. Couch in Bronze, Roman                                    248
   212. Couches and Sofa, Greek                                   244
    96. Crown of Charlemagne                                      114
    82. Crown-Derby covered Cup and Saucer                         95
   141. Crozier of Clonmacnois                                    177
   142. Crozier of Bronze, Irish, in Edinburgh                    178
   140. Cumdach, or Case of Molaise’s Gospels                     176
   103. Cup, with Translucent Enamels set                         123
   165. Cup, Standing, Cambridge                                  198
   166. Cup, Enamelled, King’s Lynn                               198
   175. Cup, with Cover, Silver-gilt, French                      209
   178. Cup of Gold, Oxford                                       210
   306. Cup, Drinking, Anglo-Saxon                                383
   195. Cuttack, Native Silver Jewellery of                       225
   196. Cuttack, Filigrain Jewellery of                           225
   262. Damask, Silk, Early Saracenic                             307
   266. Damask, Silk, Sicilian                                    311
   267.     ”        ”                                            312
   268. Damask, Silk, Florentine                                  313
   314. Dante’s “Inferno,” from Woodcut of                        402
   269. Diaper in Velvet Brocade, Italian                         314
   225. Dining Room                                               253
   226. Dining Table on Trestles                                  253
     7. Dish, Valencia                                              9
    15. Dish, Early Pesaro                                         19
    24. Dish, Lustred, Gubbio Ware                                 27
    28. Dish, Embossed Fruit, Gubbio                               31
    32. Dish, Urbino                                               36
    35. Dish, Venetian                                             39
    43. Dish, Rhodian                                              47
    50. Dish, Rustic Palissy Ware                                  56
    57. Dish, Rouen Ware                                           63
    71. Dish, of Slip Ware, by Thomas Toft                         81
    72. Dish, of Lambeth Delft                                     82
   148. Dish, Spanish, silver                                     184
   200. Door, Press, in Church of St. Jacques                     231
   205. Door, Iron-bound, Monastery of Krems                      238
    21. Drug-pot, Siena                                            26
    30. Drug-pot, Castel-Durante Ware                              33
    94. Enamel, Cloisonné, Altar Tray and Chalice                 111
    97. Enamel, Champlevé, of Geoffry Plantagenet                 115
    99. Enamel, Châsse in Champlevé                               117
   100. Enamel, Champlevé, French                                 118
   106. Enamel, Battersea                                         131
   108. Enamelled Haka Stand, Mongol period                       135
   109. Enamelled Pen-and-ink Stand, Jaipur                       136
   110. Enamelled Sarai, Punjaub                                  137
    93. Enamelled Tile, from Sindh                                107
   311. Epistle of Jerome, from the, in “Book of                  393
   251. Escritoire of Marie-Antoinette                            286
     3. Ewer, Greek or Etruscan                                     4
    48. Ewer and Tazza, Oiron Ware                                 53
   263. Fabric, Silk, of Iconium, Arabian (Lyons                  308
    33. Faenza Plate                                               37
    34. Faenza Maiolica                                            38
   180. Fire-dog, Silver, at Knole Park                           212
   294. Glass Vase or Bottle                                      365
   298. Glass Tablet in Relief, Roman                             370
   300. Glass, Venetian Enamelled                                 375
   301. Glass, Venetian                                           376
   303. Glass, Spanish                                            380
   304. Glasses, German                                           381
   307. Glass, Stained                                            385
   308. Glass, Window, English                                    386
    90. Glazed Pierced Water-Bottle, from Madura                  104
   274. Gloves, State, formerly belonging to Louis                324
   198. Gold Jewellery of Bombay, Native                          227
   128. Gold Brooch and Earrings, Etruscan                        162
   202. Grille or Herse on Queen Eleanor’s Tomb,                  233
   203. Grille, Tabernacle, from Ottoberg, Tyrol                  236
   280. Guipure, Flemish                                          338
   281. Guipure Lace, Italian                                     339
   167. Hanap, German                                             199
   199. Hinges, &c., Haddiscoe Church                             229
   201. Hinge to Porte Ste. Anne of Notre-Dame                    232
   284. Honiton Lace, Modern                                      342
   158. Hour-glass Salt, Oxford                                   194
   112. Image Painter                                             142
    88. Incense Burner, Satsuma Ware                              102
    89. Incense Burner, Arita Ware                                103
   191. Italian Damascene Work                                    220
   118. Ivory Carving, Fourteenth-century Pierced Work            148
   119. Ivory Diptych, English                                    149
   120. Ivory Casket, Lid of, Spanish                             150
   122. Ivory Comb                                                151
   123. Ivory Mirror Case                                         152
   124. Ivory Tankard, Flemish                                    154
   125. Ivory Panels of Pulpit Door, Saracenic                    156
   126. Ivory Ink Horn                                            157
   127. Ivory Box, Indian                                         159
   114. Ivory Carving with Archangel                              145
   115. Ivory Vase                                                145
    74. Jar, Staffordshire Stone                                   84
   147. Jewel, Spanish                                            183
   197. Jewellery, Native, of Trichinopoly, Madras                226
   261. Kincob of Ahmedabad                                       303
   285. Lace Point, Irish Modern                                  343
   276. Lace, Point, Genoese                                      334
   277. Lace, Grounds                                             335
   282. Lace, Point, Venetian, Finest Raised                      340
   283. Lace, Mechlin, Border of                                  341
   257. Lacquered Boxes, Sindh                                    292
   258. Lacquered Leg of Bedpost, Sindh                           293
    76. Lamp, Black Egyptian Ware, Wedgwood                        88
   149. Lamp, Moorish                                             185
   278. Lappet, Brussels                                          336
   279. Lappet, “Point d’Alençon”                                 337
   113. Leaf of Roman Diptych                                     143
   204. Lock in Klagenfurt Museum, German                         237
   312. “Lyme Missal,” page from the Caxton                       397
   313. “Lyme Missal,” page from the Caxton, the                  399
    17. Maiolica, Sgraffitto                                       22
    18. Maiolica Plate                                             23
    13. Medallion in Enamelled Earthenware, Della                  17
   246. Mirror Frame, Seventeenth Century                         279
   206. Mirror, Wrought-Iron, French                              239
   242. Mirror Frame, Venetian                                    270
   310. Monogram, Illuminated, portion of “Book of                392
   144. Monstrance, Spanish                                       180
   168. Monstrance, Italian                                       200
   287. Mosaic, Roman, found at Avignon                           347
   288. Mosaic, Roman, Ancient                                    348
   286. Mosaic, Roman, from Woodchester                           346
   289. Mosaic, Head in, from “Battle of Issus”                   350
   290. Mosaic, Geometric, Church of Ara Cœli, Rome               357
   291. Mosaic from the Alhambra                                  363
   292. Mosaic, Saracenic, from Monreale                          363
   293. Mosaic, Indian, from the Taj Mehal                        364
   129. Necklace, part of, Head of Bacchus, Etruscan              162
   194. Neck Ornament, Silver                                     224
   296. Necklace of Glass and Gold, Phœnician                     367
   107. Necklace, Punjaub                                         134
    45. Ornament on Cupola of Mosque of Soliman the                49
   222. Panel, Flemish                                            252
   223. Panel, German                                             252
   224. Panel, English                                            252
   139. Pattern, Irish Trumpet                                    175
   146. Pax, Spanish                                              182
   169. Pax, Italian                                              201
    77. Pedestal, Jasper, Wedgwood Ware                            89
   170. Pendant, Cellini, Paris                                   202
    20. Pesaro Portrait Dish                                       25
    16. Pitcher, Caffaggiolo Maiolica                              21
     8. Plaque, Earthenware, Alcora Ware                           11
    19. Plateau or Tazza, Caffaggiolo Ware                         24
    22. Plate, Siena                                               26
    23. Plate, Siena                                               26
    54. Plateau, Rouen Ware                                        60
    56.       ”        ”                                           62
    58. Plate, Lille Ware                                          65
    59. Plate, Moustiers Ware                                      66
    60. Plate, Strasburg Ware                                      67
    86. Porcelain, Oriental, Chinese with French                  100
          Ormoulu Mounting
    91. Pottery, Glazed, of Sindh                                 105
    92.       ”        ”        ”                                 106
   150. Rapiers, Spanish                                          186
    95. Reliquary, Byzantine, Cloisonné Enamel                    113
   104. Salt-cellar, portions of, by Pierre Raymond               128
    49. Salt-cellar, Oiron Ware                                    54
   174. Salver, Flemish                                           208
   208. Seat, Assyrian                                            242
   221. Seat, Scandinavian                                        251
   228. Seats, Fourteenth Century                                 255
   220. Sella, Roman                                              248
    61. Sèvres Vase                                                69
    62. Sèvres Porcelain Clock                                     70
    63. Sèvres Vase                                                71
   192. Shield, Damascened in Gold, Indian                        221
   155. Shrine or Reliquary                                       192
   172. Silver-gilt German Cup                                    206
   171. Spoons, Apostle, Cambridge                                205
   116. Staff, Pastoral, German                                   146
    81. Statuette, Derby                                           94
   210. Stools and Chairs, Folding, Greek                         243
   236. Stool of Carved Wood, Italian                             264
   255. Stool and Armchair, Empire style                          290
   143. Sword of Boabdil, Madrid                                  179
   272. Syon Cope, Portion of                                     322
   181. Table at Windsor Castle, Silver                           213
   216. Tables, Roman                                             246
   232. Table (Kursy), Saracenic                                  257
   240. Table, Elizabethan                                        268
   249. Table, Writing, Louis Seize                               284
   252. Table of Marie-Antoinette, inlaid with Sèvres             287
   177. Tankard, Nuremberg                                        210
   179. Tankard, English                                          211
   275. Tapestry, Italian, Dismissal of Hagar and                 331
    26. Tazza, by Giorgio, “The Stream of Life”                    29
    27. Tazza, by Giorgio                                          30
    46. Tazza, Henri II. Ware                                      51
   207. Throne, Assyrian                                          242
    39. Tile, Persian                                              43
    12. Tile, Alhambra                                             15
    69. Tile, Encaustic, Monmouth Priory                           79
    55. Tray, Rouen Ware                                           61
   259. Tree, Homa or Sacred, Assyrian                            300
   260. Tree of Life, Assyrian                                    300
   265. Tree of Life, Apostolic, with the Cross Emblem            310
   214. Tripod, Folding, Roman                                    245
   185. Tureen at Windsor Castle                                  216
    70. Tyg of Wrotham Ware                                        80
    68. Urn, Romano-British                                        78
     1. Vase, Greek, Oinochœ                                        4
     2. Vase, Greek, or Crater                                      4
     4. Vase, Greek, Signed by Necosthenes                          4
     6. Vase, Græco-Roman                                           6
     9. Vase, Buen-Retiro                                          12
    10. Vase, Alhambra                                             13
    11. Vase, Hispano-Moresque                                     14
    25. Vase in Copper-ruby Lustre                                 28
    37. Vase, Persian Flower, with Chinese Decoration              41
    44. Vase, Siculo-Arabian Ware                                  48
    52. Vase, Nevers Ware                                          58
    64. Vase, Delft                                                73
    67. Vase, Dresden                                              76
    78. Vase, Chelsea                                              91
    80. Vase, Bow Porcelain                                        93
    83. Vase, Worcester                                            96
    85. Vase, Chinese                                              99
    87. Vase, Ancient Japanese                                    101
   101. Vase, Enamelled, found in Essex                           119
   105. Vase, Painted Enamel by Pierre Raymond                    129
   187. Vase, Silver                                              216
   188. Vase, by Adam                                             216
   305. Vases, Decorated German                                   382
   130. Vessel, Etruscan Bronze                                   163
   247. Vessel for Holy-Water                                     280
    14. Virgin and Child, Della Robbia Ware                        18
   302. “Vitro di Trina,” Venetian                                377
   135. Votive Crown of King Suinthila                            171
    40. Wall Decoration, Persian                                   44
   264. Wall Hanging, Silk, Arabian                               309
    36. Ware, Persian Lustred                                      40
    42. Ware, Rhodian                                              46
    65. Ware, German Stone                                         75
    75. Ware, White Salt-Glazed, Staffordshire                     85
   241. Ware, Great Bed of, Elizabethan                           269
    38. Water-bottle, Persian imitated Chinese                     42
   132. Wine Crater in Silver, Antique Roman                      165
   182. Wine Fountain                                             214
   239. Wood Panel, Carved, French                                267

                           HISTORIC ORNAMENT.


                               CHAPTER I.

In a former volume of this work, under the respective headings, the
Pottery of the Prehistoric ages, and of the oldest nations, as Egypt,
Assyria, and Phœnicia, has been noticed. The pottery of primitive Greece
has also been mentioned, and some illustrations have been given. It is
here intended to give a brief outline of the history of Ceramics dating
from about the end of the thirteenth century; but to connect this sketch
with the notice of Cyprian pottery already given it will be necessary to
say something of the Greek, Etruscan, and Roman pottery. Greek vases had
been found in great quantities in Etruria before they were found in the
islands and colonies of Greece, or to any extent in Athens, and from
this circumstance they were wrongly supposed to have been of Etruscan
workmanship. The Etruscans imported these vases from Greece during the
fifth and sixth centuries B.C., many of which had been placed in their
tombs, from where they have been exhumed during the last hundred and
fifty years.

The vases found at Athens and other parts of Greece were also, as a
rule, found in tombs and burial-places; one class in particular—the
Athenian _lekythi_—were made specially to contain the sacred oil or wine
and to be afterwards placed in the tomb. These vases are of a long,
narrow, and elegant shape, and were decorated with appropriate funeral
subjects outlined on a white ground. This white ground is known as
_matt_, and is of a dull surface; it is not a glaze, but simply an
engobe of clay fired at a very low temperature. The draperies of the
figures are occasionally coloured red, brown, pale green, or a bluish
tint, and some of them are remarkable for their beauty of drawing and
expression of sentiment in the design. They date from B.C. 450 to 350.
Greek vases are characterized by their beauty of shape as well as by
their refined decoration. Some of the richly decorated ones were given
as prizes to the victors in the Olympian games, and it has also been
conjectured that some of the terra-cotta vases found in the tombs were
designed to represent the costlier metal vases that were offered for
prizes at the games held in honour of princes at their death, the
coarser terra-cotta vases being used at the death of the common people.

The shapes of the Greek vases vary in the different periods, getting
more elegant as they approached the middle period—the fifth and the
first half of the fourth century B.C.—and larger in size with the
handles more elaborate in the later periods. The principal varieties are
known under the following names:—the Amphora, a full-bodied vase with
two handles, used for carrying wine; the Hydria, a wider bodied vase,
used for carrying water: it has generally one large and two smaller
handles; the Crater, a large wide-mouthed vessel, used for mixing wine
and water; the Lebes, a round basin usually placed on the top of a stand
or tripod; the Oinochoè, a ewer-shaped vase, used for pouring out wine;
the Lekythos, a long bottle-shaped vase, used for holding oil; the
Aryballos, for perfumes or oil; the Cantharos, a two-handled cup on a
foot, used for drinking purposes; the Kylix, a shallow cup on a foot,
used for drinking wine; and the Rhyton, or drinking horn, made in the
shape of an animal’s head or a sphinx.

Greek Ceramic ware, like the Etruscan and Roman, was coated with a
scarcely perceptible thin glaze, supposed to be composed of a vitreous
alkaline that merely hardened the clay body and left a very faint polish
on the surface.

The colouring on the majority of the Greek vases of the sixth century is
a brown or red glaze on which are painted the designs in black; the
markings on the figures and drapery are incised, showing the groundwork,
or being sometimes filled in with white, and the faces and limbs usually
painted a white colour and fired at a low heat. Sometimes a purple tint
was painted over the accessories. Vases of this period have also a white
biscuit ground with similar coloured decorations as those of the red

In the fifth century B.C. a change took place in the style of
decoration: the figures and accessories are left in the red ground
colour of the vase, and the surrounding groundwork is black; the
interior markings are in faint yellow or black, and incised slightly
with a tool. This is the period of the best designs and of delicate and
correct drawing. Some of the kylixes of this period are exceedingly
beautiful, and are usually signed with the name of the artist. Some
artists’ names are Meidias, Polygnotos, Epictelos, Pamphaios, Brygos,
Euphronius, &c. It is said that the greatest artists of Greece—Phidias,
Polycletus, Apelles, and Myron—furnished designs for the potters.

The Greeks in their vase paintings observed strictly the æsthetic laws
of proportion and space division (Figs. 1, 2, 3, 4) as they did in their
architecture. The precision of touch which they displayed is remarkable,
and the skill in the freehand rendering of their geometric and floral
borders, not to speak of their figure-work, is astonishing when we think
that if they made a mistake on the absorbent biscuit ware on which they
painted, it could not be altered without showing the defect.

[Illustration: Fig. 1.—Greek Vase. Oinochoè.]


Fig. 3.—Greek or Etruscan Ewer.

[Illustration: Fig. 2.—Greek Vase. Crater.]

[Illustration: Fig. 4.—Greek Vase. Signed by Nicosthenes.]

The Levantine island of Samos has been celebrated from the earliest
times for its pottery. It has been mentioned by Homer and Herodotus as
unparalleled, for its size, in the wealth and artistic qualities of its
people. It was renowned for its temples and metal work as well as for
pottery. The Temple of Juno—the Heræum—was built in marble, and was of
great magnitude—a treasure house of art in itself. The Samians were
great traders, and their beautiful red pottery was carried by their
ships to all parts of the known world. The clay of which the Samian ware
was made was of a fine red compact earth; the pottery was usually
thicker than that of the other Greek ceramics, and the decoration was
partly modelled and partly incised (Fig. 5). This ware has been found in
nearly all parts of Europe, the design of which inclines to the
Græco-Roman style, and is doubtless of the variety made during the Roman
occupation of the island.

[Illustration: Fig. 5.—Samian Bowl.]

[Illustration: Fig. 6.—Græco-Roman Vase.]

A Græco-Roman vase in terra-cotta is shown at Fig. 6.

Roman pottery and fragments of it have been found in every country that
was formerly under the Roman rule, and consists of examples both of a
very simple kind and artistic. Great quantities have been found in
England, and every year almost brings new examples to light, consisting
of vases, lamps, and panels in terra-cotta.

Although the Greeks never quite lost the art of making pottery during
the Middle Ages, they did not produce much artistic work after A.D. 200,
and between this time and the end of the fourteenth century. Artistic
pottery as glazed ware was imported into Europe from Damascus through
the Arabs or Saracens about this time. Cups from Damascus in glazed
pottery were reckoned among the treasures of kings, and it was from
Damascus that the Arabs undoubtedly brought the secrets of glazed
earthenware to Spain, where they established the potteries that
fabricated the famous Hispano-Moresque ware. Before dealing with this
ware, it is necessary to note briefly the various kinds of glazed wares
anterior to its invention. The process of glazing terra-cotta tiles,
bricks, and vessels is of great antiquity. In Egypt, as early as the
fourth dynasty (B.C. 3766-3600), examples of glazed terra-cotta tiles
were in use. Copper has been employed at these early dates to produce a
turquoise blue enamel in Assyria and Babylon, and tin has been used in
the glaze mixture on the enamelled bricks from the same countries. These
ancient tiles and bricks, therefore, belong to the category of
_fayences_. The word _fayence_, now of so wide application, is derived
from Faenza, a town in Italy, where enamelled earthenware, or maiolica,
was manufactured in the fifteenth century, which was distinguished by
its fine polished white enamel. Fayence is a ware that is distinct from
porcelain; it is a potter’s clay mixed with a marl of an argillaceous
and calcareous nature and sand. According to the composition, and the
degree of heat required in firing, it is called “Soft” (_Fayence à pâte
tendre_) and “Hard” (_Fayence à pâte dure_).

English earthenware made from _pipeclay_ is “soft”; stone ware, Queen’s
ware, and some other special wares are hard. Soft wares are unglazed,
glazed, and enamelled. The glazed or _varnished_ wares, as we have seen,
were made by the ancient civilized nations, as well as the coarser
terra-cotta or unglazed wares. In medieval and in modern times enamelled
ware, as distinct from merely glazed or varnished wares, have been made,
as well as porcelain or China ware; the latter is called also Kaolin,
and is a fine white earth in which silex is the chief constituent, which
is derived from a decomposition of feldspathic granite.

Vitreous glaze (or glass) is composed of sand or other siliceous matter
fused with potash or soda; this is ground and mixed with water, forming
a liquid in which the clay biscuit ware is dipped, and afterwards fired,
in order to make it impermeable to liquids. Oxide of lead in
considerable quantities is added to the vitreous glaze, which increases
its fusibility, but still keeping it transparent; this is what is known
as a _plumbeous_ glaze. This glaze may be coloured yellow by the
addition of iron oxide; green by copper oxide; blue by cobalt; and black
by manganese. All these coloured glazes were known to the ancients.

A further addition of the oxide of tin to the vitreous or plumbeous
transparent glaze, in comparatively small quantities, produces the
opaque enamel known as a “stanniferous” or tin glaze. This is the
enamelled glaze of the Della Robbia ware, of the Hispano-Moresque, and
of the Italian maiolica.

From recent analysis of the enamel on Assyrian tiles and bricks it has
been ascertained that the oxide of tin was used by the enamellers of
that early time, but not to the same extent as the vitreous glaze.

Persia was the natural inheritor of the art of the ancient land of
Mesopotamia, and the beautiful siliceous and probably the stanniferous
glaze, and also metallic lustres, have been used in that country from
very early times. The Arabs, or Saracens, evidently brought the workmen
from the East, and imported many pieces of Damascus ware during the
independent Caliphate of the Damascus Caliphs in Cordova in Spain, which
lasted from the eighth century to the year 1235, when the Moors drove
the Arabs out of Spain. The Arabs (says Riaño) had, as early as the
beginning of the twelfth century, if not before, established the
industry of metallic-lustred pottery in Spain. Edrisi, the Arab
geographer, wrote in 1154, in describing Calatayud in Spain: “Here the
gold-coloured pottery is made, which is exported to all countries.” This
gold-coloured pottery is likely to have been similar to the siliceous
glazed ware of the East. The next reference to lustred pottery is made
by Ben Batutah, a celebrated Arab traveller, when travelling from
Tangiers to Granada, and when passing Malaga (1349-57) he says: “At
Malaga the fine golden pottery is made, which is exported to the
furthermost countries.” The golden pottery here referred to is the
tin-glazed Hispano-Moresque. At Manises, in the kingdom of Valencia, the
famous lustred pottery _fabriques_ or workshops were in a flourishing
state in the fifteenth century, when Eximenus, in his “Regiment de la
cosa publica,” quoted by Riaño, speaking of the excellent things made in
his time at Manises in Valencia, says: “Above all, the beauty of the
gold pottery, so splendidly painted at Manises, which enamours every one
so much that the Pope, and the cardinals, and the princes of the world
obtain it by special favour, and are astonished that such excellent and
noble works can be made out of the earth.”

The same author translates a document he found in the British Museum,
which gives a description of the whole of the making and preparing of
the golden lustre as used at Manises in 1785: speaking of its
composition, the document runs thus: “Five ingredients enter into the
composition of the gold colour: copper, which is the better the older it
is; silver as old as possible; sulphur, red ochre, and strong vinegar,
which are mixed in the following proportions: of copper three ounces, of
red ochre twelve ounces, of silver one _peseta_ (about a shilling),
sulphur three ounces, vinegar a quart.” All these ingredients are fused
together, and afterwards ground and diluted with water and the vinegar
to make the gold-coloured glaze or varnish for use in the decorating of
the ware. A woodcut gives a very imperfect idea of Hispano-Moresque
pottery, as the lustre and colour is everything in the ware; the designs
generally are very simple leaf-work shields and small geometric
repetitions. The beautiful dish (Fig. 7) is one of the finest examples
of the ware made at Murcia in the province of Valencia. The statement of
Eximenus regarding the Pope, the cardinals, and princes sending for this
ware seems to have been correct, for most of the pieces known have been
found or brought from Italy, to which country the majority of them had
evidently been exported.

[Illustration: Fig. 7.—Valencia Dish; Hispano-Moresque. (S.K.M.)]

Besides the lustred ware manufactured in the peninsula in the Middle
Ages, the _Azulejos_, or tiles of bright colours, were made in small
pieces, and were embedded in the walls to form geometric patterns. This
manner of using these tiles was derived from the coloured and geometric
Byzantine mosaics, tiles being used in Spain where mosaics would be used
in the Eastern Empire; and perhaps the earliest use of them in Spain was
in the Alhambra decoration of the fourteenth century. Afterwards the
tiles became larger and more complete in their patterns. Terra-cotta
figures and ornament, green and white-glazed pottery were also made by
the Moors in Spain.

In the sixteenth century Spanish pottery design was of the Italian
Renaissance character. Unlike the Moresque work, the designs were shaded
and the colours more subdued, but the Moresque design still continued in
favour, and to keep its flat treatment and bright effect of colour. The
Italian kind of pottery was made at Talavera, at Andujar, and at La
Rambla, as well as unglazed porous and coloured ware at the former
place, and white unglazed pottery at the latter places. Coarse green and
white pottery was made at Toledo in the sixteenth century; a large
well-head or brim, with an interlaced Moresque band in relief, from this
place is now in the Museum at Kensington.

A bowl of Talavera ware of the eighteenth century, painted in imitation
of the Italian maiolica ware, is also in the Museum. The colours used
are green, blue, orange, and manganese tint, which are usually found on
the Spanish pottery of this period.

The well-known and extensive potteries at Alcora were established by
Count Aranda in 1726, where porcelain and pipeclay wares were made with
all kinds of designs, mostly imitations of France, Holland, England, and
China. Most of the principal painters and modellers at these works were
Frenchmen or Germans. The names of the chief artists were Haly, Knipper,
Martin, Garces, Ferrer, and Prato. The Duke of Hijar, son of Count
Aranda, succeeded his father (1800-1858) in the management of the Alcora
potteries. A specimen of this ware is shown in the Rococo plaque (Fig.
8) with the subject of Galatea.

[Illustration: Fig. 8.—Earthenware Plaque; Alcora Ware. (S.K.M.)]

Another celebrated pottery, connected with royalty, was founded by King
Charles III. in 1760 in the gardens of the royal palace of Buen Retiro
at Madrid. This King, coming from Naples to inherit the Spanish Crown at
the death of his brother Ferdinand, was anxious to establish a similar
pottery in Madrid to that which he had previously founded at Capo di
Monte, at Naples, so he brought his staff of artists, workmen, and
director of the works, Bonicelli, over from Italy to Madrid, and
established the Buen Retiro works at a great cost. The yearly expenses
of these works were £20,000, and all the pottery made was for the
exclusive use of the King and Royal Family, and was sent as presents to
foreign princes. This was the case for the first thirty years until the
death of Charles III. (1798), after which the pottery was allowed to be
sold, but at a very high price. The workmanship of this pottery is good,
but there is nothing particularly artistic about it. The designs are in
the false taste of the late Italian mixed with Louis Seize incrusted
motives. A vase in the Buen Retiro ware is shown at Fig. 9. A room in
the royal palace, Madrid, is covered with plaques of this ware.

[Illustration: Fig. 9.—Buen Retiro Ware. (S.K.M.)]


Before the advent of Maiolica ware in Italy a similar kind of pottery
was made in Spain, which had the stanniferous or opaque tin glaze and
the golden lustre that belonged to the best examples of Italian
maiolica. We refer to the Hispano-Moresque ware. This opaque
stanniferous glaze was known to the Arabs of Spain from the end of the
thirteenth century, or more than one hundred years before Luca della
Robbia (who died in 1430) produced his enamelled earthenware.

The first specimens of Hispano-Moresque pottery were probably made at
Malaga, and another important factory was at Valencia. The shape and
decoration of the famous Alhambra vase (Fig. 10), one of the earliest
specimens of Hispano-Moresque ware (about 1320), clearly points to its
Persian origin of design, and was probably made and decorated by a
Persian Saracenic artist. It is coloured brown and blue on a yellowish
ground, and is decorated with animals and ornament in the Persian
manner. It was found about the middle of the sixteenth century, under
the pavement of the Alhambra Palace, filled with gold coins.

[Illustration: Fig. 10.—The Alhambra Vase Hispano-Moresque.]

Hispano-Moresque ware is of a general yellowish-white colour, with an
iridescent metallic lustre similar to the Italian maiolica of the end of
the fifteenth and beginning of the sixteenth centuries. The
ornamentation is lustrous rather than the ground, and is of a golden
copper red to a pale yellow golden tint. It has been divided into three
classes: the first has the ornamentation of a copper red colour; the
ground is nearly covered by ornament, consisting invariably of birds in
the midst of flowers and foliage, resembling Persian pottery. The ware
of this class is less perfect in manufacture than that of the golden
yellow designs, and is the oldest. The second class has the colour of a
monochrome golden yellow tint, with the ornament of a small geometric
character, and Spanish or Moresque escutcheons. This variety is of
Spanish origin of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.

The third class has the ornament partly rendered in coloured enamels,
and has golden yellow armorial bearings, interlacings, and foliage.
Animals, such as antelopes, sometimes occur. This ware is the carefully
executed work of the fifteenth century. During the first years of the
sixteenth century the third class of ware was probably imitated by the

The process of the manufacture of lustred earthenware was introduced
into Italy by Arabian or Spanish workmen from the Balearic Isles.

[Illustration: Fig. 11.—Hispano-Moresque Vase. (S.K.M.)]

A beautiful vase of elegant shape with large perforated handles in
Hispano-Moresque, decorated with ivy or briony leaves and tendrils, is
in the Kensington Museum (Fig. 11).

A curious shaped tile from the Alhambra is shown at Fig. 12, the
decoration of which is purely Saracenic.

[Illustration: Fig. 12.—Alhambra Tile. (S.K.M.)]

Scaliger (1484-1558) tells us that a costly fayence, as beautiful as the
pottery of India, was made in his time in the island of Majorca and
exported to Italy; he also adds that the name “Maiolica” or Majolica was
derived from Majorca.

The island of Majorca was an Arab possession until the year 1230, and no
doubt the Arabs had there founded potteries for the production of glazed

Towards 1300, as related by Passeri, the Italian potters began to cover
a raw clay with a coating of white opaque Sienese earth produced from
that territory. This coating of a white opaque substance, called an
“engobe,” was the ground to which the colours were applied, and which,
differing from the older methods hitherto employed in Italy, was a
distinct advance in pottery manufacture, and has been considered as the
first beginning of Maiolica pottery. Improvements were effected in the
use of this engobe or opaque varnish until the time of Luca della Robbia

                           DELLA ROBBIA WARE.

It is not known whether the above celebrated artist invented the opaque
white stanniferous glaze with which he covered his works, but he was the
first to use it successfully in the architectural decoration known as
“Della Robbia” ware. He succeeded, however, in colouring his white
glaze, thereby greatly enlarging its usefulness for exterior and
interior decoration. The colours he obtained were blue, yellow, green,
violet, and a copper tint. His sculptured terra-cottas glazed with these
colours became objects of great request. He obtained more orders than he
could execute himself, and so he employed his two brothers, who were
sculptors, to assist him. His nephew Andrea, after himself was the most
famous in this kind of work, and produced, like his uncle Luca, groups
of figures in panels, single figures, tabernacles, friezes, &c.

Three sons of Andrea, Giovanni, Luca, and Girolamo, worked in the same
material, and Girolamo was invited by François I^{er} to decorate the
Château de Madrid with “Della Robbia” ware, representing the
“Metamorphoses” of Ovid, which was done at a cost equal to £15,530.

[Illustration: =Fig. 13.—Medallion in Enamelled Earthenware, by Luca
della Robbia. (S.K.M.)]

In the Kensington Museum there are many specimens of Della Robbia ware,
among which are a series of twelve circular medallions in enamelled
terra-cotta, representing the twelve months of the year, one of which is
illustrated at Fig. 13. The bas-relief of the Virgin and Child (Fig. 14)
is likely to be a work of one of the Della Robbia family.

[Illustration: Fig. 14.—Virgin and Child. School of Della Robbia.

                           ITALIAN MAIOLICA.

About the year 1450 the Sforzi, the Lords of Pesaro, established at the
latter place Maiolica factories, and a decree, dated 1st of April, 1486,
was published, granting certain privileges to the ceramists of Pesaro.
The potteries of Urbino, Gubbio, and Castel-Durante were then equally
famous with those of Pesaro. It is generally thought that the use of
metallic lustre was first known at Pesaro; the pearly, the ruby, and the
golden lustres appeared at Pesaro and Gubbio before they were known at
any other Italian pottery. The early pieces are decorative dishes, or,
as they are called, “bacili,” having a broad border and a deep sunk
centre; at the back is a projecting circular “giretto,” pierced with two
holes, which shows that they were intended to be hung up as decorative
objects. Coats of arms, or other devices, occupied the centre; the
border usually is simple but well designed, showing a mixture of
Oriental with Gothic or Italian forms (Fig. 15). The potteries of
Faenza, Forli, and Caffaggiolo are thought by some to be as early, if
not earlier, in date than those of Pesaro.

[Illustration: Fig. 15.—Early Pesaro Dish. (S.K.M.)]

In 1444 Federigo, the second Duke of Urbino, built a castellated palace
at Urbino, and gathered around him men of learning and many artists, and
especially encouraged the manufacture of maiolica. His son, Guidobaldi
I., succeeded him in 1482, and he also was a great patron of the ceramic
arts. The ware made in Italy during this time—the latter half of the
fifteenth century—was known under the name of “mezza-maiolica,” this
ware differing from tin-glazed or true maiolica in its glaze in its
having a lead or plumbeous glaze; but in common with the true maiolica,
the mezza-maiolica is also a lustred ware, having a peculiar iridescent
lustre, derived from the lead used as a glaze. This lustred ware was
therefore made anterior to the tin-glazed dishes and other objects, and
chiefly at Pesaro and Gubbio. The lustre was obtained on a glaze of
oxide of lead and glass by the use of certain metallic oxides, and the
art of making it was probably learnt from the potters of the island of
Majorca, where the making of the Hispano-Moresque ware was well known.

The Italian writer Passeri states that the tin-glazed ware or true
maiolica was made at Pesaro in 1500, and that the process was introduced
from Tuscany. A better ground for the reception of the colours used in
the decoration was afforded by the new enamel, but it did not entirely
supersede the manufacture of the mezza-maiolica, as a great deal of the
latter ware still continued to be made of a brilliant metallic lustre at
the fabriques of Pesaro and Gubbio. At Castel-Durante, Urbino, and
Diruta were other famous botegas or fabriques where the lustred ware was
made, but none were so celebrated as that of Maestro Giorgio at Gubbio.
It was at this famous botega that the best of all the golden and ruby
metallic lustres were produced. The ruby lustre particularly seemed to
be a monopoly of the Gubbio workshops, for it is known that many of the
Italian factories sent their pieces to Maestro Giorgio at Gubbio to have
the ruby and the gold lustre added as a finish to parts of the designs.

Maiolica was made at Venice in the sixteenth century, also at Forli,
Diruta, Siena, Caffaggiolo, and Faenza, where much early work of great
beauty in design was produced.

We shall only have space to describe a few of the most important
products of Italian maiolica.

[Illustration: Fig. 16.—Pitcher; Caffaggiolo Maiolica. (S.K.M.)]

An early method of decorating maiolica pottery is known as
“sgraffitto-work,” in which the patterns are scratched or incised into
the ground: this was a favourite method of executing outdoor plaster
decoration in Italy. It consists in laying on a ground of coloured clay
or plaster on another coating of a different colour, and while this
second coating is moderately soft, the pattern or design is incised or
“scratched” down to the first coating or ground, which, being of a
different colour, reveals itself, and thus forms the pattern. In both,
pottery and plaster decoration sgraffitto work is usually accompanied by
modelling in relief, such as representations of leaves, flowers, and
fruit in bas-relief bands, or medallions of figures and animals, in high
relief. After the ware is incised it is glazed with a translucent lead
glaze, variegated with green and yellow colouring over the white engobe
(Fig. 17). The sgraffitto pottery of Italy is either of Lombardic or
Venetian origin, as appears from the usual Gothic character of the

[Illustration: Fig. 17.—Sgraffitto Maiolica. (S.K.M.)]

The wares of Caffaggiolo are distinguished by a purely white glaze, with
masses of a rich cobalt blue used as portions of the groundwork for the
ornament; sometimes green and purple are used with the blue, and at
other times a bright orange yellow and a copper green or an Indian red.
Caffaggiolo, Faenza, and Forli wares have much resemblance to each
other. The pitcher (Fig. 16), with the arms of the Medici family,
belongs probably to the Caffaggiolo school, and is a work of the early
years of the sixteenth century.

[Illustration: Fig. 18.—Maiolica Plate; Caffaggiolo Ware. (S.K.M.)]

The tazza (Fig. 19) is another example of this ware. The fine plate
(Fig. 18) is thought to be a work from the same botega, and the subject
is supposed to represent Raphael and the Fornarina.

The plate (Fig. 15) is an example of the mezzo-maiolica ware, and is
anterior to the date 1500. The more beautiful one (Fig. 20) is a work
dating from the first years of the sixteenth century, at the time when
the stanniferous glaze was coming into use. Both these plates are
supposed to be from the Pesaro fabriques. They may have been made as
wedding presents from the bridegroom to the bride, and are portrait
dishes, with an inscription on the ribbon, with the name of the bride,
or some endearing motto.

These plates are known as “amatorri” pieces. The colours used in the
Pesaro maiolica are yellow, green, manganese, black, and cobalt blue,
and have what is known as the “madreperla” lustre, which has a beautiful
changing effect in colour. The outlines are manganese, and the flesh
left white in the best pieces. The finest work executed in Pesaro came
from the fabrique of Lanfranco in the years 1540-45.

[Illustration: Fig. 19.—Plateau or Tazza; Caffaggiolo Ware.]

The products of the Sienese potteries are worthy of being ranked with
the best works of Pesaro and Caffaggiolo, to which they are closely

There is a fine pavement of tiles in the Kensington Museum from the
Petrucci Palace at Siena, dated 1509. Benedetto is the name of an artist
of the Sienese school, who painted in maiolica, from whose hand most of
the best Siena maiolica has come; the drug pot (Fig. 21) and the two
plates (Figs. 22 and 23) are works of his. On the drug pot, tiles, and
some large dishes, grotesques were very much used as ornament, and in
colour, yellow, orange, and particularly black grounds, were used in the
Siena production.

[Illustration: Fig. 20.—Pesaro Portrait Dish (about 1500). (S.K.M.)]

The maiolica wares of Gubbio are the most celebrated in all Italy, as
regards their richness and beauty of colouring; this, of course, was due
mostly to the beautiful effects gained by the unique ruby and gold
lustres used at this fabrique. The name of one man, Maestro Giorgio
Andreoli, as the chief artist, is connected with the Gubbio ware. He was
a native of Pavia, and came of a noble family. He finally established
himself at Gubbio, where he was made a “Castellano” of that city in
1498, and enjoyed the patronage of the Dukes of Urbino. He was a
modeller as well as a painter of maiolica, and is said to have executed
some altar-pieces in relief before coming to Gubbio. In the Kensington
Museum there is a bas-relief of St. Sebastian which is supposed on good
authority to be a work of his hand; it is coloured with the gold and
ruby lustres.

[Illustration: Fig. 21.—Drug Pot; Siena. (S.K.M.)]

[Illustration: Fig. 22.—Siena Plate. (S.K.M.)]

[Illustration: Fig. 23.—Siena Plate. (S.K.M.)]

A circular dish or “bacile” of lustred ware (Fig. 24), with the subject
of two mailed horsemen in the centre, and a border of foliated ornament,
is a work of the Gubbio fabrique, but is an earlier work than the time
of M^{o.} Giorgio.

[Illustration: Fig. 24.—Lustred Dish; Gubbio Ware. (S.K.M.)]

The embossed vase in copper lustre (Fig. 25) is a very beautiful example
of the stanniferous glaze and ruby copper lustre. The design is well
adapted to show the “reflets” of the lustre by the variety of form on
its embossed surfaces. This work is ascribed to the same artist who
executed the previous example.

[Illustration: Fig. 25.—Vase in Copper-ruby Lustre; Gubbio. (S.K.M.)]

The tazza (Fig. 26), with the subject, “The Stream of Life,” after
Robetta, is one of Giorgio’s best figure pieces. Though not very good in
figure draughtsmanship, it is excellent in colour, and is cleverly
heightened with ruby lustre. This and another plaque in Kensington
Museum, representing the “Three Graces” after Raphael, are amongst if
not the best of Giorgio’s work: for colour and richness of lustre, and
for clearness and perfection of the enamel glaze, they are the best
works in Italian maiolica that we possess. The date of both is probably

[Illustration: Fig. 26.—The Stream of Life; Tazza by M^o. Giorgio.]

A work by Giorgio is shown at Fig. 27. This is a highly decorative tazza
in the best manner of Giorgio, who was very clever at this kind of
design. The groundwork of this piece is blue, parts of the decoration
are green, and other parts ruby, while all of the decoration is lustred.
The back of this piece is covered with a yellow lead glaze, which seems
to be the case with many examples of maiolica. Probably it was done for
economical reasons. We close the list of illustrations of Gubbio ware
with that of a dish, “Fruttiera” (Fig. 28). The design is simple and
very good for showing the beauties of the ruby and gold lustres. It is
embossed, and has been made from a mould, and is an unsurpassed example
of the famous Gubbio lustre. Mr. Fortnum thinks that Giorgio obtained
the secret of the ruby lustre from an artist that formerly worked at the
Gubbio fabrique, and that he did not invent it, and also that all the
similar lustred ware was produced at Gubbio, the wares of Urbino,
Castel-Durante, and of other fabriques having been sent to Gubbio to get
the final lustre added to them.

[Illustration: Fig. 27.—Tazza by Giorgio. (S.K.M.)]

Another artist who executed many important works at the Gubbio botega
signs his productions with the letter N. Some think that this is meant
for a signature of M^{o.} Cencio, a son of Giorgio who succeeded his
father at the fabrique. Another name that appears on some of this ware
is M. Prestino. It is known that Giorgio signed his name on many pieces
that were painted by other artists or by his pupils.

[Illustration: Fig. 28.—Embossed Fruit Dish; Gubbio. (S.K.M.)]

A beautiful specimen of Castel-Durante ware is the plate (Fig. 29) with
a deep centre—"tondino"—which has a border of cupids, foliage, and
medallions on a dark blue ground. The centre has cupids, and the sides
of the centre painted with solid white ornaments on a low white ground.
It is probably the work of the artist Giovanni Maria (1508).

[Illustration: Fig. 29.—Castel-Durante Maiolica. (S.K.M.)]

The vase (Fig. 30) is a richly decorated specimen of the same ware; the
grotesque masks and arabesques are vigorously drawn, and the ornament
generally is a good example of that used on the Castel-Durante ware.
This vase has been used as a drug pot, and was made at the botega of
Sebastiano di Marforio. Giuseppe Raffaelli in his “Memorie” (1846) says
that the manufacture of glazed pottery as an art began when Monsignor
Durante built a “castello” on the Metauro at Correto in the year 1284,
and the names of potteries are recorded that were in existence in 1364
to 1440. The year 1490 began a period of great activity in the
Castel-Durante fabriques, and we hear of many artists who were Durantine
maiolica painters going to various parts of Europe and establishing
works in pottery. Tesio and Gatti went to Corfu in 1530, and taught the
art in the Ionian Islands; Francesco de Vasaro went to Venice, where he
was eminently successful in developing the Venetian phase of maiolica;
others went to Nevers and Lyons, in France, and one to Antwerp. The
artist who styled himself “Francesco” of Urbino, and who also worked at
Perugia, sometimes signed his works “Durantino.” Vasari, in his “Lives
of the Painters,” speaks of Battista Franco of Venice, a clever painter
and designer, as having been employed by the Duke of Urbino, Guidobaldo
II., in 1540, to design subjects for the excellent ceramic painters of
Castel-Durante. The death of Duke Francisco Maria II. (1631) put an end
practically to the maiolica industry of the place; the trade generally
then declined, and the artists were forced to emigrate.

Urbino is a city celebrated in the art and literature of Italy in the
Renaissance period, and her dukes rivalled the Medici family of Florence
in the patronage and encouragement of art, science, and literature. The
names of the Urbino maiolica artists have been fortunately well
preserved. Those of Nicola da Urbino, Guido Fontana, and his more famous
son Orazio, also another son, Camillo, the versatile artists in
“Majoliche istoriate”, and Francesco Xanto, may be mentioned as the most

[Illustration: Fig. 30.—Drug Pot; Castel-Durante Ware. (S.K.M.)]

To the first-named artist, Nicola, is ascribed the earliest authentic
works from the potteries of Urbino, the celebrated service of maiolica,
painted probably between the years 1490 and 1519, for Isabella d’Este,
wife of the Marquis of Mantua, and known as the Gonzaga-Este service.
Two fine plates of this service are in the British Museum. They have the
arms of Gonzaga impaling those of Este on a shield, and one of them has
the painted subjects of Apollo and Daphne, and Apollo and the Python,
while the other has a representation of a troop of horse soldiers
entering a city. The figures are delicately and carefully outlined and
the colouring is brilliant.

Orazio Fontana was the most celebrated of the family of that name. His
best work was done from 1540 to 1560, and he was the artist proprietor
of a botega at Urbino, from whence came many of the finest works ever
made in that city, not only as regards their artistic qualities but in
the beauty and finish of the maiolica ware. The “istoriati” panels, or
figure subjects (usually mythological) which were copies or adaptations
of engraved designs by Italian painters, were the work of Orazio
himself, and the grotesques probably from the hand of his brother or
some other artist.

The pilgrim bottle (Fig. 31) is from the botega of Orazio Fontana, but
the grotesques on it are supposed to have been painted by his brother
Camillo. One artist named Gironimo was very clever at this grotesque, or
“Raphaelesque” work as it is sometimes called—not from the great Raphael
Sanzio, but from the artist Raphael dal Colle, who introduced this
grotesque design among other work of his for the decoration of the
Pesaro ware, in the duchy of Urbino. These grotesques were afterwards
called “Urbino arabesques” and were of a different character to the
grotesques of the Gubbio ware, which may be seen by comparing the dish
of Urbino ware signed by Gironimo (Fig. 32) with Fig. 27.

There is a circular dish of Urbino ware in the Museum at Kensington on
which is painted the subject of the marriage of Alexander with Roxana,
from an engraving by Marc Antonio Raimondi, after Raphael’s design. This
work is signed by Francesco Xanto (1533), a prolific and somewhat
careless artist who took great liberties with the designs he adapted,
like most of the maiolica painters. The colouring of this dish is very
rich: the colours generally of the Urbino school were green, yellow, and
blue, and a predominance of orange on a light or white ground.

[Illustration: Fig. 31.—Pilgrim Bottle; Urbino Ware. (S.K.M.)]

Faenza pottery is among the oldest in Italy, but little is known of the
early artists or potteries. Many pieces of doubtful origin have been
classed as Faentine, but without any positive proof.

In the Cluny Museum in Paris there are a pair of pharmacy jars or vases,
one of which bears the inscription “Faenza,” and the other is dated
1500, their excellence proving that good work was done at Faenza at this
date, or perhaps much earlier. The pottery works called the Casa Pirota
was the principal establishment for the production of maiolica at

[Illustration: Fig. 32.—Urbino Dish, with “Urbino Arabesques.” (S.K.M.)]

Many works from this pottery are in the Kensington Museum, and they seem
generally to be the work of one hand, but there is no record of the
artist. He painted a certain kind of grotesque, and figures of boys on
plates of a wide border. The colours are a light blue on a dark blue
ground, the light blue heightened with touches of white, and shaded with
a brownish yellow. This style is known as “sopra azzuro” and is very
characteristic of the unknown painter’s work (Fig. 33).

[Illustration: Fig. 33.—Faenza Plate. (S.K.M.)]

A fine tazza in the same museum by the Faentine artist who signs himself
as F. R. has the painted subject “the Gathering of the Manna,” after

[Illustration: Fig. 34.—Faenza Maiolica. (S.K.M.)]

The colours used are strong and rich yellows, blues, greens, orange, and
purple tints. This work is much superior to that of another Faentine
artist who used the same initials. An oblong panel or plaque in the
Kensington Collection, 9-3/4 inches in height by 8 inches in width, has
a painting of the Resurrection after a design by Melozzo de Forli,
signed with a monogram consisting of T and B. It is a maiolica work of
the highest rank, carefully executed yet with perfect freedom of
touch—for carefulness of execution in pottery painting very often
implies hardness—and pleasing combinations of blues, yellows, greens,
and golden browns, with little touches of red. Mr. Fortnum thinks it was
painted by the same artist that executed the famous service of maiolica
of which seventeen pieces are in the Museo Correr at Venice. The tazza
at Fig. 34 is ascribed to the Faenza fabriques. It is as much Gothic as
Italian in design, which is the case sometimes in Northern Italian art,
and it has been found also that the “istoriati” maiolica of Faenza has
more of its subjects from the engravings of German artists’ works, such
as Dürer, Martin Schon, and others, than the pottery of any other
Italian fabrique. Maiolica has been fabricated at many other places in
Italy, such as Diruta, Forli, Rimini, Padua, Ferrara, Genoa, and Venice,
but space prevents us here from giving any descriptive notice of them,
further than the mention of the Venetian botegas where many important
examples came from during the sixteenth century. The Venetian dishes of
this time were covered with ingenious and elaborate designs of
interlacing ornament, foliage, birds, masks, with tyings of ribbons or
drapery (Fig. 35). The colour of the enamelled surface is white slightly
tinted with zaffre blue. A low-toned blue colour was employed for the
ornament, which was outlined and shaded with a darker blue and
heightened with white.

[Illustration: Fig. 35.—Venetian Dish. (S.K.M.)]


The artistic pottery and tiles of Persia, though forming a large
variety, may nearly all be brought under the designation of siliceous or
glass-glazed wares, the tin glaze being only met with occasionally in
some Persian and Damascus examples, where an unusually white surface was
required. All the glazed wares of Persia are highly baked, and are
mostly of a semi-translucent character.

[Illustration: Fig. 36.—Persian Lustred Ware.]

There is the fine copper, ruby, and brown lustred ware, which has
sometimes a white and at others a blue ground. The plate (Fig. 36) is an
example of this ware. The design on this ware is in the pure Persian

Another kind, and by far the most numerous, are the wares of a coarse
porcelain variety, not only made in imitation of Chinese porcelain, but
decorated to imitate the Chinese ware, the ornament being sometimes
mixed with Arabian forms; the colour a bright blue on a white ground,
and the Chinese marks or signatures being copied as well (Figs. 37 and

[Illustration: Fig. 37.—Flower Vase, Persian, with Chinese decoration.]

In the reign of the Persian Shah Abbas the Great (A.D. 1586-1628) the
route for travellers and merchants from China to Europe lay across
Persia, and many objects of merchandise were imported from China to
Persia, including great quantities of Chinese porcelain, many examples
of which were purchased in Persia that are now in our museums, as well
as specimens in abundance of the imitated Chinese variety.

[Illustration: Fig. 38.—Persian Water-bottle; imitated Chinese

The beautiful enamelled earthenware tiles were made with and without the
metallic lustre in the days of, and anterior to the reign of, Shah
Abbas, but since his time the art has declined, and nothing but a coarse
and inartistic pottery has been made in recent times. As a rule the
excellence of Persian pottery, like wine, is augmented in proportion to
its age.

[Illustration: Fig. 39.—Persian Tile; Seventeenth Century.]

The picturesque wall tile (Fig. 39) was found in the ruins of the palace
of Shah Abbas II. (1642-1666), near Ispahan. It has a blue ground with
white embossed decorations and black pencillings, and is lustred.

Wall tiles have been in use in Persia from a very early date. Some of
them are beautiful in colour, having usually a deep lapis-lazuli blue
ground or white. Sometimes the design is complete on one tile, but
generally a whole tile has only a portion of the pattern, many tiles
being required to make up the complete pattern (Fig. 40). The tiles are
made to fit into all kinds of spaces, according to the shape of the
wall, and these arrangements have usually a border design.

[Illustration: Fig. 40.—Persian Wall Decoration.]

The lustred tiles are of an older date than the Persian _fayence fine_
ware, or imitated Chinese porcelain. The body composition of the tiles
resembles that of the old bricks that are found in great quantities in
the ruinous mounds of Rhages (Rhé), where also many fragments of tiles
have been found, and some remains of potters’ kilns, proving that Rhages
must have been the centre of extensive pottery works. Another class of
Persian ware has a thin, hard, and nearly translucent paste, which is
decorated by having pierced holes filled in with transparent glaze. It
is creamy white in colour, and has foliated ornament in blue or brown.
This has been called Gombion Ware.

One variety of decoration on a late seventeenth-century Persian bowl is
shown at Fig. 41. This is a good example of the late floral ornament.

[Illustration: Fig. 41.—Blue Persian Bowl; Seventeenth Century.

Damascus ware has generally been classified as Persian, but in many
points it is different from the latter. It is better in colour and
design. Some examples have a smooth even glaze, and are coloured with a
fine quality of cobalt blue, turquoise green, and a dull lilac or purple
intermixed with white portions of the design evenly distributed. The
ornament is less florid and the fayence is of an older date than the
majority of Persian examples. The “Damas” cups or vases have always been
highly prized for their beauty, and the wall tiles from Damascus are the
most beautiful of all Oriental tiles.

[Illustration: Fig. 42.—Rhodian Ware.]

Rhodian or Lindus tiles and pottery have been also classified as
Persian, but again this ware is quite distinct from Persian or Damascus
wares. Rhodian pottery is coarser than the two former varieties, and the
decoration is brighter and more strongly marked. The ornament is of a
very conventional character, and in colour it is characterised by having
a red opaque pigment used in spots and patches, and sometimes in bands,
but always raised or embossed.

The plates shown in Figs. 42 and 43 are examples of Rhodian ware.

[Illustration: Fig. 43.—Rhodian Dish.]

The island of Sicily was conquered by the Saracens in A.D. 827, and
about the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries potteries of glazed wares
had been established by the latter.

Some examples of their work of these periods have decorations of
animals, figures, birds, and also mock Saracenic inscriptions like the
Siculo-Arabian textiles of the same and later periods (Fig. 44).

Anatolian ware is a later variety that is akin to the Persian wares, but
somewhat coarser and of a duller surface. This ware is small in size,
and the colouring is usually gay on light grounds. The tiles from
Anatolia are less inventive in their ornament and rougher in execution
than the Damascus or Rhodian.

[Illustration: Fig. 44.—Vase, Siculo-Arabian Ware; Fourteenth Century.]

The decoration of Turkish tiles and Turkish ornament generally is of the
Saracenic kind, but has neither the beauty nor the invention of the
other varieties of Persian. There are no plant nor animal forms in the
Turkish variety of Saracenic ornament; it is more allied to the Egyptian
Saracenic, but lacks the ingenuity of the latter. The colour is harsh
and crude. It is seen at its best in the tomb mosque of Soliman the
Great at Constantinople (Fig. 45), built in 1544.

The decoration of the palace of the Seraglio and of the “Sultanin
Valide” consists of beautiful tiles that were brought from Persia to

[Illustration: Fig. 45.—Ornament from the Cupola of the Mosque of
Soliman the Great, Constantinople.]

                            FRENCH POTTERY.

The art of the potter flourished in Gaul before the time of the Romans,
but this early pottery was of a coarse kind, used mostly for domestic
purposes, and of an unglazed variety (_poteries mates_). The use of a
vitreous glaze was common in France as early as the thirteenth century,
and in a grave that had the date of 1120, in the Abbey of Jumièges, two
small broken vases were found covered with a yellowish lead glaze. We
are informed by an old French chronicler that “On fait des godets à
Beauvais.” A _godet_ was a goblet or cup of glazed fayence, with a wide
mouth, and often had a cover, and was usually silver-mounted. Beauvais
was noted in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries for its glazed

It has been mentioned before that the Italian artist, Girolamo della
Robbia, introduced the famous enamelled earthenware invented by his
grand-uncle, Luca della Robbia, into France, when he came by invitation
of Francis I. to decorate the exterior of the Château de Madrid, in the
Bois de Boulogne, and the Pesaro maiolica painter, Francesco, also
settled and worked in France; but apparently little came of these
attempts to naturalise Italian pottery on French soil, except that the
art must have been spread in some degree by the workmen, and by French
artists who would naturally have assisted the Italians, and the
traditions left by the latter must have helped considerably to influence
the subsequent fabrication of enamelled earthenware.

                              OIRON WARE.

To take our subject in a chronological order, the wares of Oiron, or
“Henri-Deux ware,” as the name they are better known by, must be noticed

Until a recent date the origin of this was only guessed at, but the late
M. Benjamin Fillon by his researches has cleared up the mystery. It
appears now that the invention of this scarce and unique ware was due to
Hélène de Hangest, Dame de Boissy, the widow lady of Gouffier, who was
formerly governor to Francis I. This lady established the pottery in
1564 in the Château of Oiron, near Thouars; and, being gifted with
strong artistic tastes, conducted the work with great success, assisted
by two skilful collaborateurs, François Charpentier and Jehan Bernart.
The former was the modeller, and the latter—Bernart—was her librarian,
and the artist who designed and adapted the stamped ornament which is so
characteristic of this ware. This ornament is copied from the
bookbindings of the period, and seems to have been stamped in colour on
the Oiron ware with tools similar to those used in the bookbinding
craft. The vase or tazza (Fig. 46) is a fine example of this ware of the
earlier period, showing the stamped decoration. The ornament is
identical with the peculiar Italo-Saracenic style of the Grolier and
contemporary bookbindings.

[Illustration: Fig. 46.—Tazza, Henri-Deux Ware. (S.K.M.)]

The decoration is of a dark brown colour, sometimes heightened with
pink, on an ivory-coloured ground.

Another and later class of this ware has modelled decorations in high
relief. The colouring and technical skill generally was also improved,
as may be seen in the profusion of small figures, masks, and festoons
that were added to the candlesticks and vases after the earlier period,
but these additions were not always improvements in the general design.
The colouring is also of a greater variety: ochre, green and blue, and
sometimes gold, was added in small quantities.

[Illustration: Fig. 47.—Candlestick, Henri-Deux Ware. (S.K.M.)]

The celebrated candlestick (Fig. 47) is one of the best examples in
which modelled ornament is a feature. It is now in the Kensington
Museum, where there are various fine specimens of Oiron ware.

This candlestick shows the Italian Renaissance influence very strongly,
and probably owes much to the art of Cellini, as seen in his metal-work
designs. The ewer and tazza betray also his influence (Fig. 48).

[Illustration: Fig. 48.—Oiron Ewer and Tazza. (S.K.M.)]

The saltcellar (Fig. 49) is a restrained piece of architectural design
and is altogether a very fine piece of work.

[Illustration: Fig. 49.—Oiron or Henri-Deux Saltcellar. (S.K.M.)]

It is said by some that there are eighty pieces of this ware in
existence, and others that there are only fifty-three genuine pieces.
The early examples bear the emblems of Francis I., and the later ones
those of Henry II. and Diana of Poitiers. The paste used in this ware is
a white pipeclay, and is covered with a thin glaze.

                             PALISSY WARE.

Bernard Palissy was one of the most remarkable men who practised the art
of the potter in France or in any other country. He was born about the
year 1510, but his birthplace is not exactly known. He worked in his
younger days and up to the period of his middle age at surveying,
glass-making, portrait painting, and was also well skilled in natural
sciences, but was not brought up to the trade of a potter.

It was in the year 1542, at Saintes, that in order to increase his
slender means he took to the making of earthenware. In writing his life
he says: “It is now more than five-and-twenty years that a cup was shown
to me of fashioned and enamelled clay, and of such beauty, that from
that day I began to struggle with my own thoughts, and hence, heedless
of my having no knowledge of the different kinds of argillaceous earth,
I tried to discover the art of making enamel, like a man groping in the

So he struggled on for fifteen years, with starvation and death often at
his door, until at last he mastered his art, and produced ultimately, as
he says, “those vessels of intermixed colours, after the manner of

The particular jasper enamel invented by Palissy is a deep rich glaze of
a green and brownish variegated character. He made many “rustic pieces”
as dishes, plates, and plaques, on which he admirably arranged reptiles,
fishes, frogs, shells, insects of various kinds, fruits, leaves, acorns,
&c., modelled in relief and covered with the jasper glaze.

Most of these dishes were elliptical in shape and had broad rims (Fig.

[Illustration: Fig. 50.—Rustic Dish, with Reptiles and Fishes; Palissy
Ware. (S.K.M.)]

He decorated a “grotto” with his famous pottery at the Château of Ecouen
for his patron the Constable de Montmorency, and similar grottoes at the
Tuileries, and at Reux, in Normandy, for Catherine de’ Medici. Palissy
made other forms of pottery besides his rustic pieces, such as ewers,
bottles, hunting flasks, and dishes, ornamented with figures and other
work. It is likely that the figure work was executed by his sons or
relatives, Nicholas and Mathurin Palissy, who worked for Catherine de’
Medici on the Tuileries grotto. Many of the Palissy wares are similar in
design to the _étains_ and pewter works of Briot and of other artists,
as Prieur, Rosso, Gauthier, and Primaticcio. Openwork baskets and dishes
and other modelled works were covered with the jasper glaze. Of the
invention of the latter Palissy does not seem to have communicated the
secret to his successors, for after his death the jasper glaze was
imitated, but without much success, as appears evident from some
specimens that are now in existence which were made from his moulds.

Palissy was nearly all his life engaged in lecturing on scientific and
other subjects, and in the work of proselytism for the Reformed Church
of which he was a member, being in prison more than once on account of
his religious ideas, and eventually died in the Bastille Prison in
poverty in 1590 at the age of eighty.

As efforts of decorative design the encrusted wares of Palissy cannot be
placed in a high rank of decorative art, but the art of France would be
considerably poorer without the genius of Palissy, an artist of whom any
nation might be justly proud.


We have mentioned before that some maiolica artists and workmen came
from Italy in the sixteenth century to Nevers and Lyons and there set up
potteries. One of these artists, named Scipio Gambin, worked at Nevers,
under the patronage of the Duc de Nivernais.

[Illustration: Fig. 51.—Pilgrim’s Bottle, Nevers Ware. (S.K.M.)]

The maiolica productions at Nevers were in imitation of the Urbino,
Castel-Durante, and Faenza wares, but the colours were inferior,
probably owing to the poorer glaze used by the French potters. The
subjects of the decoration were at first similar to the “istoriati”
decoration of the Urbino ware, and were compositions from Ovid’s
“Metamorphoses” (Fig. 51) or from the Bible. Later on the potters of
Nevers imitated the shapes of Oriental pottery with French decorations
(Fig. 52).

[Illustration: Fig. 52.—Vase, Nevers Ware.]

In 1608 two Italians—the brothers Conrade—came from Genoa to Nevers, and
were probably the successors of Gambin: the ware made by them was
decorated with a mixture of Chinese and Italian ornament, and the
colouring was blue, manganese, brown, and white.

In 1632 a Frenchman named Pierre Custode and his sons established a
pottery at the sign of “The Ostrich” at Nevers. To them is ascribed the
beautiful Persian blue-coloured pottery decorated with naturalistic
flowers and birds in solid white with yellow heightenings, the shape and
decoration being Chinese in character. The blue glaze peculiar to Nevers
pottery of this period is very fine, and has been imitated by French and
foreign potters, but without success.

[Illustration: Fig. 53.—Pilgrim’s Bottle, Nevers Ware. (S.K.M.)]

The great importation of Chinese porcelain into Europe in the
seventeenth century and at the beginning of the eighteenth had a strong
influence on the art of the Nevers pottery, and many pieces exist on
which Chinese designs almost pure were copied in a blue _Camaïen_
(monochrome), or in a harmonious mixture of blue and purple-black
manganese, the latter colour being a mixture of the blue with manganese.
In the eighteenth century the style of design was debased and very much
degraded, and the pottery became coarse and heavy.

[Illustration: Fig. 54.—Plateau, Rouen Ware. (S.K.M.)]

ROUEN WARE.—A much better class of pottery both in manufacture and
design is the famous Rouen ware, made in the town of that name in
Normandy. In the year 1644 Edme Poterat obtained a licence to make and
sell fayence in the province of Normandy.

[Illustration: Fig. 55.—Tray, Rouen Ware. (S.K.M.)]

This monopoly did not last long, for we find that in 1673 his son, Louis
Poterat, obtained another licence, and from that time a new development
takes place in the ornament that is so characteristic of Rouen ware. The
greater part of this ornament is composed of a scallop form of setting
out, with alternating compositions of ornamental flowers, called
_lambrequins_, and baskets of ornamental flowers that repeat at
intervals around the border of plates or trays; light pendentives and
wreaths of artificial flowers are painted in a lighter tone, and occur
between the richer lambrequins (Fig. 54). Richly ornamented
coats-of-arms, or baskets of flowers and cornucopias, occupy the centres
(Fig. 55). The beautiful plate in the Kensington Museum (Fig. 56) is
unique in Rouen ware in having _amorini_, or cupids, in the centre. All
of the foregoing examples are painted in blue of different shades on the
white enamel, or sometimes on yellow ochre grounds. Indian red colour
and a warm reddish yellow is sometimes also used. The ornament is
pseudo-Chinese, and is a Norman development of Oriental forms with some
Italian influences which are reminiscences of the decoration brought by
the Conrade brothers from Genoa to Nevers.

[Illustration: Fig. 56.—Plateau, Rouen Ware. (S.K.M.)]

Some of the Rouen ware is decorated with a ray formation on which the
ornament is painted on a light or dark ground. This is known as the
_style rayonnant_. The drawing of these patterns is always very careful
and correct, the latter often being copies of the printed decoration of
the books of that period. Later on the decoration became of a freer
type, with bouquets of artificial flowers, and in the eighteenth century
the _Rocaille_ or Rococo element began to creep in, and the Rouen ware
developed from the camaïen blue style of decoration to a polychrome

[Illustration: Fig. 57.—Dish, Rouen Ware. (S.K.M.)]

The Chinese element in design became everywhere in the ascendant, not
only in late Rouen ware, but in the pottery of every country in Europe,
and remains more or less in the work of to-day. Some of the late Rouen
ware is not so bizarre in its decoration as many other French and
European styles of the same period. Fig. 57 shows the Chinese influence,
but is in better taste than the majority of contemporary designs.

As a style decays the colour as a rule becomes more gaudy, which applies
to Rouen ware as to other varieties of fayence. The “Cornucopia pattern”
belongs to the decadence period: this is full of unrestrained liberty
both in form and colour. It ought to be mentioned that Louis Poterat, of
Rouen, first discovered the secret of making the Chinese soft porcelain
(_pâte tendre_) in France. Several pieces of this Rouen porcelain are
preserved in the Museums at Sèvres and at Limoges.

The Rouen School of Decoration has influenced modern pottery designers
in France, Germany, Holland, and England, more than any other school;
but unfortunately they all copied its later defects with greater zeal
than in taking lessons from its earlier excellencies.

Rouen ware was imitated in the Sinceny pottery, but this pottery was
made by some workmen who had formerly belonged to Rouen, and established
themselves at Sinceny in 1713, and copied the Rouen ware so closely that
the copies have often been mistaken for the latter ware.

At Paris, St. Cloud, Quimper, and Lille, imitations of Rouen ware have
been attempted with success. The St. Cloud pottery is of a slatey blue
colour. The pottery of Lille is a close imitation of Rouen ware, as the
plate (Fig. 58) clearly shows.

MOUSTIERS, in the south of France, was an important centre for enamelled
pottery works, where a style of decoration was used that was a mixture
of the Italian Urbino and the School of Rouen, the borders of the plates
having the Rouen lambrequins, and the centres having figure subjects and
landscapes, or, as in the later work, grotesques and ornament after the
French artists, Callot and Berain.

The colour was in shades of a deep blue (Fig. 59).

Pierre Clérissy (1728) was the name of the first artist and also of his
nephew, who continued the works after him in Moustiers.

Polychrome decoration became common at a later date, when some Moustiers
workmen, who had been to the Alcora potteries in Spain, introduced the
Spanish style of colouring, then in great fashion, which consisted of
bright orange yellow, light green, and blue outlines. The later
Moustiers ware is decorated with festoons and ovals with figures or
busts painted in them.

MARSEILLES fayence is of a delicate and pure enamel, and is painted with
flowers, shell fish, and insects, &c., which as a rule are thrown on or
disposed in an irregular sort of way. Much of the decoration was Chinese
or Rouen imitations, and little landscapes painted in red camaïen; gold
was sometimes used in the stalks of the flowers.

[Illustration: Fig. 58.—Plate, Lille Ware.]

STRASBURG pottery, though classed as French, owed a good deal of its
process of manufacture and general character to German methods of
manipulation and decorative processes, as German potters were mostly
employed in the works.

The great difference was in the mode of decoration, the latter being
applied on the fired surface of the enamel in the Strasburg wares;
whereas in the wares of the other French potteries that have just been
considered the decoration was applied to the unbaked and consequently
absorbent ground. The latter was the more artistic method, and the
former, or German method, allowed a wider range of the artist’s palette,
and admitted of greater delicacy of execution, but was more harsh in
effect, and did not incorporate the colours with the enamel in a way
that an absorbent ground or unbaked enamel would do.

[Illustration: Fig. 59.—Plate, with Stag Hunt; Moustiers Ware.]

The name of Charles Hannong is connected with an early pottery of
Strasburg, which was mostly a manufactory of earthenware stoves. This
pottery was founded in 1709. In 1721 Hannong and a German porcelain
worker, who was taken into partnership by the former, began to make
porcelain, but after a short existence under the sons of Hannong this
pottery was closed.

Statuettes, clocks, dinner and dessert services were made in Strasburg
glazed earthenware, with modelled and painted decoration. The colouring
and decoration was of the prevalent Rococo, bright and clear; flowers of
all kinds, and Chinese pictures, were imitated mostly on white grounds
(Fig. 60).

[Illustration: Fig. 60.—Plate, Strasburg Ware.]

                           FRENCH PORCELAIN.

The desire to imitate the porcelain ware of China led to the discovery
of the soft paste (_pâte tendre_). The names “_porcelaine de France_”
and “_Sèvres porcelain_” have also been given to it. As previously
mentioned, it was made at Rouen in 1690, at St. Cloud in 1698, and at
Lille in 1711, but in all these cases in a small and tentative way.

The composition of the paste in the French soft porcelain is described
by MM. Gasnault and Garnier in their handbook of “French Pottery” as
follows: “The paste was composed of the sand of Fontainebleau,
saltpetre, sea salt, soda (_soude d’Alicante_), alum, gypsum, or parings
of alabaster; all these elements were mixed together and placed in an
oven in a layer of considerable thickness, where, after being baked for
at least fifty hours, they formed a perfectly white frit, or vitrefied
paste. The frit was mixed with Argenteuil marl in the proportion of nine
pounds of frit to three pounds of marl, &c.”

The glaze is described as consisting of “the sand of Fontainebleau,
litharge, salts of soda, Bougival silex or gun-flint, and potash.” All
these were ground and melted together, and afterwards the vitreous mass
was re-ground in water and thus formed the glaze.

The soft paste is much superior for artistic works owing to the glaze
incorporating with the colours in a perfect manner, rendering them
equally brilliant with the enamel, but this is not the case with the
hard or natural kaolin, as the glaze on this does not blend completely
with the colours of the decoration. The soft paste porcelain is,
however, too porous for articles of domestic use, and can be tested by
its being easily scratched by a knife.

[Illustration: Fig. 61.—Sèvres Vase; Jones Collection. (S.K.M.)]

The Marquis Orry de Fulvey made an attempt to establish the soft paste
porcelain works at Vincennes in 1741, but this was not a success. It was
established again under new conditions in 1745, and after many
experiments some important vases were made decorated with flowers in
relief. The manufactory was reorganized again and removed to Sèvres,
near Paris, in the year 1756. The products of the Sèvres works at this
time were the fine vases with the _bleu de roi_, or _bleu de Sèvres_,
and the lovely _rose Pompadour_ colours, and numerous fancy articles, as
heads of canes, buttons, snuff-boxes, needle-cases, also table services,
&c. Many artists were employed to paint the flower and figure
decorations; the latter were painted after the designs of Boucher,
Vanloo, and others.

The soft paste porcelain was made from about 1700 to 1770. Some of the
finest soft paste Sèvres porcelain may be seen in the Jones Collection
at South Kensington, of which there are nearly sixty examples. The vase
(Fig. 61) has a dark blue ground. The clock of Sèvres porcelain (Fig.
62) is a beautiful and unique example that was made especially for Marie
Antoinette. The clock is mounted in ormoulu by Gouthière, and is in his
best style of work.

The egg-shaped vase (Fig. 63) has a blue ground and is decorated with
subject of Cupid and Psyche.

The artists Falconet, Clodion, La Rue, and Bachelier modelled and
designed many of the statuettes, plaques, and vases for the Sèvres

Cabinets and tables of the Louis Seize period were often inlaid with
painted plaques of Sèvres ware, and have ormoulu mountings. This kind of
furniture is exceedingly refined in design and workmanship, and reflects
in a high degree the Pompadour and Du Barry period of French taste.

[Illustration: Fig. 62.—Sèvres Porcelain Clock; Jones Collection.

In 1768 beds of kaolin clay were found in France at St. Yrieix, near
Limoges. Maquer, a chemist attached to the Sèvres factory, in 1769
submitted for the king’s (Louis XVI.) inspection at the Château of
Versailles sixty pieces of the new _hard porcelain_ made from this
native clay.

[Illustration: Fig. 63.—Sèvres Vase, dark blue; Jones Collection.

During the time of the French Revolution the manufactory was in a
critical state of existence, but was still kept in a working state. In
the year 1800 Alexandre Brongniart was appointed director, a post he
held for forty-seven years—and after his appointment the manufacture of
soft porcelain ceased.

In his time the manufactory was in a state of great prosperity, and the
science he brought to bear on the manufacturing processes was of immense
importance. Vases over seven feet in height were produced, and the
pieces which were made were ornamented with trophies and battle scenes
that glorified the events in the reign of Napoleon I.

In the reign of Louis Philippe the artists Fragonard, Chenavard,
Clerget, and Julienne introduced a new style of Renaissance decoration
and design, but this was of a heavy and overloaded order that was not
exactly suited to the character of porcelain.

About the middle of the present century Louis Robert, the chief painter
at Sèvres, introduced the novelty of _coloured pastes_, which was to
develop later into the _pâte-sur-pâte_ process, so successfully
practised by the talented M. Solon, who has executed so much of this
beautiful work for Minton’s in England. The process of Louis Robert
consisted in the use of porcelain paste coloured with oxides. A
_barbotine_ or _slip_ was made of this composition and paintings were
executed with it in slight relief, the white paste being used chiefly on
a coloured ground, the modelling or light and shade being regulated
according to the thickness of the semi-transparent material employed.
When finished this kind of work has a cameo-like effect.

                            GERMAN POTTERY.

German stoneware was manufactured at an early date, and in the countries
bordering upon the Rhine the industry must have been in an active state
in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, judging from the plentiful
examples of the different varieties of the ware formerly known as “Grès
Flamands” or “Grès de Flandres,” but now classified under their proper
German origins. In the sixteenth century this ware was carried in great
quantities from Raeren, from Frechen and Sieburg, near Cologne, and from
Greuzhausen, near Coblentz, down the Rhine to Leyden and the Low

[Illustration: Fig. 64.—Delft Vase.]

The brown stoneware of Raeren—which formerly belonged to the ancient
Duchy of Limbourg—was especially in great request in Flanders. This
brown ware was of a spherical or cylindrical shape, divided by a central
broad band, with decorations of figure subjects, shields, masks, arms,
&c.; the neck is also decorated with shields and bosses, and the foot
with rings and guilloche ornament. Some good specimens of blue
stoneware—called the “blue of Leipzig”—were also made at Raeren.

At Frechen, near Cologne, the celebrated “Greybeards” or “Bellarmines”
were first made, that were imported and imitated so much in England
during the reign of James I. (see Fig. 73). They were decorated with the
head of an old man with a long beard, and sometimes also with armorial
bearings or figure subjects.

The Sieburg stoneware was a cream-coloured ware, richly decorated in
relief, and chiefly consisted of long narrow drinking tankards with
metal covers, called “Pokals.”

At Greuzhausen and at Höhr were manufactured small jugs called
“_cruches_,” also saltcellars, inkstands, and braziers were made in grey
stoneware decorated in parts with the rich “blue of Leipzig” and with
various relief ornaments.

In the end of the seventeenth century and beginning of the eighteenth at
Creussen, in Bavaria, tankards or drinking mugs were made of a round
shape with covers, and decorated with figures of the Apostles in relief,
and coloured in bright crude colours that look like oil painting: they
are known as “Apostel Kruges,” or Apostle mugs.

At Nuremberg, tiles, pipes, and stoves were manufactured in glazed brown
or green stoneware, and at the same place a celebrated potter named
Augustin Hirschvogel made different kinds of ware in tin-glazed enamel,
who with his family preserved for a long time the secret in Germany of
this particular glaze.

Delft, a town in Holland, was renowned in the seventeenth century for
its extensive manufacture of the fayence known as “Delft.” The potteries
of Delft were established in the early years of the century, and towards
the end upwards of thirty potteries were in full working order. The
genuine delft ware is of a fine hard paste, has a beautiful and clear
smooth enamel, and is decorated with almost every kind of subject,
chiefly in a blue camaïen.

Attempts at polychrome decoration are very rare, but a red colour has
been often used. The style of design and shapes were generally
imitations of Chinese, Japanese, and Dresden wares (Fig. 64). Almost
every class and shape of the usual pottery objects were manufactured,
and some plates and vases were of very great dimensions.

                           GERMAN PORCELAIN.

The Portuguese introduced China porcelain into Europe, and for a long
time the potters sought to imitate it, but without much success, until
the true kaolin was discovered by Böttger, about 1709. At Aue,
Schneeberg, and in the year 1715, a pottery for the manufacture of hard
porcelain was established at Meissen, by Augustus II., Elector of Saxony
and King of Poland, with Böttger as director.

[Illustration: Fig. 65.—German Stoneware.]

[Illustration: Fig. 66.—Dresden Candelabrum.]

This porcelain, after it had been brought to a considerable degree of
perfection, turned out a great success in its similarity to the Chinese
composition of body, but in spite of all precautions to keep the making
and the nature of the clay secret, the knowledge leaked out, and in a
short time after we find that hard porcelain was made in many parts of
Germany and Austria.

[Illustration: Fig. 67.—Dresden Vase; Jones Collection. (S.K.M.)]

Like most of the wares made at other potteries at this period, the
Dresden porcelain was at first an imitation of Chinese in shape and
decoration. Almost every kind of articles were made at Dresden, such as
candelabra, statuettes, modelled flowers, vases, services, &c., on which
were painted with great delicacy, flowers, landscapes, and figures on
grounds of different rich colours (Figs. 66 and 67).

                            ENGLISH POTTERY.

Ancient British pottery has been found in the barrows and burial mounds
in the form of incense cups, drinking and food vessels, and cinerary
urns. These have all been made of clays that were found usually on the
spot, and are either sun-dried or imperfectly burnt.

The drinking vessels were tall and cylindrical in form, and the incense
cups were wider in the centre than at either end. The urns and food
vessels have a similarity of shape, being globular, with or without a
neck. The decoration is of the simplest description, such as chevrons,
or zigzags, and straight-lined patterns produced by scratching with a
stick, or the impressions of a rope tied around the vessel while the
clay was soft.

The Romans made pottery in Britain from native clay, and also imported
much of the Samian ware. The Roman wares of British manufacture are
known as Castor, Upchurch, and New Forest wares; they are generally of
very good shapes, and are decorated with slips, dots, bosses, and
indentations, and are unglazed or slightly glazed (Fig. 68).

[Illustration: Fig. 68.—Romano-British Urn, with Slip Decoration.

The Romano-British urn in the illustration has a slight yellow glaze.
The pottery made by the Anglo-Saxons is of the same type and pattern as
that made by the Saxons on the Continent. It is rough and inartistic in
shape, except in some specimens that were made in the south of England,
where an imitation of Roman and probably Norman pottery was attempted.

We do not meet much Saxon pottery in England of any importance until we
come to the twelfth or thirteenth centuries, when some of the best
efforts in tile making and decoration are seen in the beautiful
floor-tiles of the early Gothic period. Many examples of these tiles
have been preserved in the British and other Museums, and some are still
_in sitû_ in Westminster Abbey, Malvern, Ely, and Gloucester Cathedrals,
and Chertsey Abbey. The designs are often heraldic in character (Fig.
69), and consist of geometrical, floral, animal, and architectural
forms. Badges, shields, and texts are also found as decorations, and
sometimes the human figure is also represented. The earliest are of one
colour, or two, as a yellow or a dull red, and the later ones have
several colours. They are generally called “encaustic” tiles.

[Illustration: Fig. 69.—Encaustic Tile, from Monmouth Priory. (B.M.)]

Slip wares were made extensively at Wrotham in Kent as early as 1650,
and at Staffordshire, Derby, and other places in England even earlier
than this date. Many of them are of quaint and uncouth forms, and are
generally covered with a rich green, brown, or yellow glaze, made from
copper, manganese, or iron oxides. Curious two-handled, three or
four-handled mugs or _tygs_ used for handing round drinks, posset cups
or pots, plates, dishes, candlesticks, jugs, and piggins were made in
these wares, and decorated with “slip,” which is a mixture of clay and
water used in the thickness of cream, and which is dropped or trailed
from a tube or spouted vessel, on the surface of the ware, forming the
decoration according to the fancy of the designer. The colour of the
slip varied from light to dark (Fig. 70).

[Illustration: Fig. 70.—Tyg of Wrotham Ware.]

The dish of Toft’s ware (Fig. 71) is a specimen of the slip decoration,
date about 1660. Toft was a potter who had his kiln at Tinker’s Clough,
near Newcastle in Staffordshire. His work is decorated with coloured
slip on a common red clay, with a wash of white or pipe clay, upon which
the decoration was laid in red slip; darker tints were used for the
outlines, and sometimes white dots. The lead glaze used gave a yellow
tint to the white clay coating.

[Illustration: Fig. 71.—Dish of Slip Ware; by Thomas Toft. (S.K.M.)]

Marbled and combed wares, &c., were made in the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries, in which different coloured bodies were mixed in
the paste to form a mottled, marbled, or variegated appearance.

Lambeth has been noted for its potteries from about 1660. Lambeth delft
comprised such objects as wine jars, candlesticks, posset pots. The ware
is of a pale buff tint; the paste is covered with a white tin-glaze or
enamel, and a lead glaze over the decoration. Some plates have figure
subjects and floriated borders, which seem to be imitations of Italian
majolica (Fig. 72). The names of Griffith and Morgan appear as Lambeth
potters in the eighteenth century; and the present “Stiff’s” pottery was
founded in 1751. The most noted pottery now in London is the manufactory
of Messrs. Doulton—"The Lambeth Pottery"—founded in 1811, whose original
and beautiful work is so well known to everybody in the present day.

[Illustration: Fig. 72.—Dish of Lambeth Delft. (B.M.)]

In Staffordshire pictorial delft ware was made in William III. and Queen
Anne’s time, but was of a coarser kind and less pure in the enamel than
Lambeth delft.

Stoneware of an extremely hard and translucent kind was made by John
Dwight at Fulham, about 1670. He made grey stoneware jugs, flasks,
statuettes, and busts. The busts and statuettes were of great
excellence. The jugs and tankards were made in imitation of the German
“Grès”—the so-called “Grès de Flandres.” These were called in England
“Bellarmines,” “longbeards,” or “greybeards,” by way of mockery of the
Cardinal Robert Bellarmine, who was unpopular with the Protestant party
in the reign of James I. (Fig. 73).

Salt-glazed stoneware is still made at the present time at the Fulham
works, which are now in possession of Mr. C. J. C. Bailey.

[Illustration: Fig. 73.—Bellarmine, Fulham Stone Ware.]

The salt-glazed white stoneware of Staffordshire was made from 1690 till
after 1800. The introduction of the salt glaze ware in Staffordshire is
ascribed to the celebrated potter John Philip Elers and his brother
David. They are likely to have been Dutchmen who had also worked in the
potteries of Nuremberg, and had brought with them the knowledge of the
salt-glaze process to Staffordshire, together with the style and
ornamentation of the Holland stonewares. Dwight of Fulham made
salt-glazed wares before the time that the Elers settled at Bradwell in
Staffordshire (1690-1710). John Elers made a revolution in the style of
working the English pottery by turning his ware in the lathe instead of
the exclusive use of the potter’s wheel. The Elers made a red unglazed
stoneware chiefly for teapots, cups, saucers, milk jugs, chocolate pots,
besides other salt-glazed wares.

The salt-glazed ware is one of the hardest wares known, and is almost a
porcelain in composition. The glaze gives a slightly uneven surface to
the ware, which comes from the manner in which the wares receive the
glaze. The pieces are not dipped in a glaze mixture, but when the kiln
has reached a very high temperature common salt is thrown into the kiln;
the soda is liberated from the salt by the action of the heat, and
coming in contact with the silica of the stoneware clay, forms with it a
silicate of soda, which is really a glass glaze. The composition of the
ware is, generally speaking, clay and fine sand. Astbury, the potter, in
1720 used what is considered the best composition—grey clay and ground
flint instead of sand. The colour is drab, or sometimes has a dull
cream-coloured covering.

The colour of the old Staffordshire ware is drab, with small white
applied ornaments that were previously cast from moulds of brass or
stoneware. Coloured enamels have also been very much used for decorating
later work. The ornaments are single roses, may blossoms,
_fleur-de-lis_, spirals, small interlacings, birds, figures, straight or
wavy lines, &c., all generally very sharp and clear cut (Figs. 74, 75).

[Illustration: Fig. 74.—Jar, White Stoneware of Staffordshire. (S.K.M.)]

The potter John Astbury worked for the Elers, and after finding out as
many secrets as he could from them, he left them and started a pottery
of his own in Staffordshire. He used a wider range of clays and colours
than those used by the Elers, and had more variety also in the
decoration of his ware, which consisted of such ornaments as harps,
crowns, stags, lions, and heraldic designs.

[Illustration: Fig. 75.—White Salt-glazed Ware of Staffordshire.

Brown stoneware was made at Nottingham during the whole of the
eighteenth century, and was of a bright rich colour; the material was
thin and well fabricated. Besides the ordinary shaped jugs, puzzle-jugs
and mugs in the shape of bears with movable heads were made, that were
used in the beerhouses of the last century.

Bristol and Liverpool were famous for their delft-ware during the last
century. Richard, Frank, and Joseph Flower are names of potters who had
delft works in Bristol.

In Liverpool bowls with pictures of ships, arms, and landscape
decoration were made of delft. Tiles on which were printed transfer
decorations were also made of Liverpool delft by Sadler and Green, the
inventors. These tiles were about five inches square, were printed in
black or red, and were used for lining stoves and fireplaces. Theatrical
characters and portraits of celebrities were the usual subjects.
Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potteries sent their wares to Liverpool
to get transfers printed on them.

Wedgwood ware is one of the most technically perfect productions that
has been invented. The colouring is quiet and refined, and the
decorations—following the classic ideals of the period—are severe and
rather cold, but the workmanship is of such a perfection and delicacy
that is seldom found in the ceramic products of any other manufactory.

Josiah Wedgwood came of a family of potters. He was born in 1730, and
died in 1795. He was the youngest son of Thomas Wedgwood, a potter of
Burslem, who died in 1739, and after his death Josiah left school and
was bound apprentice to his brother Thomas, who succeeded his father in
the pottery. Josiah concentrated his energies to the designing and
modelling of pottery ornaments and to the invention of new paste
compositions and glazes. Later on he sought to imitate in appearance and
composition the precious stones of agate, onyx, jasper, &c.

After his apprenticeship was over he joined partnership with Harrison,
of Stoke, and afterwards with Wheildon, of Fenton, but these
associations did not last long, and in 1759 he started business in a
small way at Burslem, where he executed many works, and by degrees
perfected the cream-coloured ware which is known by the name of “Queen’s
ware.” In the year 1776 he took into partnership Mr. Thomas Bentley, a
Liverpool merchant of artistic tastes, who attended chiefly to the
production of the decorative wares of the firm. This partnership lasted
until the death of Bentley in 1780. It was in 1769 that Wedgwood removed
his works and went also to live at his new house at Etruria, where he
founded and named this village. He took his sons John, Josiah, and
Thomas into partnership, and also his nephew Thomas Byerley in 1790.
Five years after this date he died.

The products of the Wedgwood manufacture—which may be found more fully
described in Professor Church’s excellent book on “English Earthenware,”
to which we are indebted for many particulars on English pottery and for
some of the illustrations—are thus classified:—

"1. _Cream-coloured ware_, or ‘Queen’s ware,’ comprises dinner and
dessert services, tea and coffee sets. Cream-coloured, saffron, and
straw-coloured, with well-painted designs of conventional foliage and
flowers, and later work with transfer engraving in red or black, printed
by Sadler and Green, of Liverpool.

"2. _Egyptian black_, or basalt ware, owing its colour chiefly to iron.
Seals, plaques, life-size busts, medallion portraits, and vases. Black
tea and coffee sets decorated with coloured enamels and gilding (Fig.

"3. _Red ware_, or _Rosso Antico_, used for cameo reliefs.

"4. White semi-porcelain or fine stoneware. This ware was composed of
one of Wedgwood’s improved bodies.

"5. _Variegated ware_ is of two kinds, one a cream-coloured body,
marbled, mottled, or spangled with divers colours upon the surface and
under the glaze; the other an improved kind of agate ware, in which the
bands, twists, and strips constituted the entire substance of the

“6. _Jasper ware._ The body of this ware was the material in which the
chief triumphs of Wedgwood were wrought. Outwardly it resembled the
finest of his white terra-cotta and semi-porcelain bodies, but in
chemical and physical properties it differed notably from them. There
are seven colours in the Jasper body besides the white Jasper, but the
solid Jasper is of a blue tint. The seven colours are:— blue of various
tints, lilac, pink, sage-green, olive-green, yellow, and black.”

[Illustration: Fig. 76.—Lamp, Black Egyptian Ware.]

Plaques, tablets, large portraits, and other medallions, cameos,
intaglios, vases, statuettes, pedestals, flower-pots, &c., are objects
and vessels that were made in Jasper ware.

[Illustration: Fig. 77.—Pedestal in Green and White Jasper, Wedgwood
Ware. (S.K.M.)]

Flaxman collaborated with Wedgwood in making many designs for his work.
The beautiful pedestal shown at Fig. 77 is from a design by Flaxman, and
is made in green and white Jasper.

Other names of artists who designed or modelled for Wedgwood are
Hackwood, Stubbs, Bacon, Webber, Devere, Angelini, Dalmazzoni, &c. An
influence on some of his work was due to his studying and copying the
celebrated Portland Vase, which was lent to him for this purpose for
more than three years by the Duke of Portland.

                           ENGLISH PORCELAIN.

Porcelain was first made in England about the year 1745. The best period
of the manufacture dates from 1750 to 1780, though some of the oldest
factories have survived to the present day. English porcelain, or as it
is better known as “China” ware, was made at Chelsea, Bow, Derby,
Worcester, Plymouth, Bristol, and in Staffordshire. Some of the best
porcelain from these places does not yield in beauty to the finest of
Sèvres ware.

The Chelsea porcelain works were first under a Mr. Charles Gouyn, and it
appears that Nicolas Sprimont was his successor, who was originally a
goldsmith in Soho, and who was probably of Flemish origin.

Chelsea ware is remarkable for its deep rich claret-coloured grounds.
This colour was first used on the Chelsea porcelain in 1759.
Turquoise-blue, pea-green, and Mazarine-blue were also, though in a
lesser degree, peculiar to Chelsea ware. The early pieces are without
gilding, which is more of a distinguishing mark of the later
productions. The paste, the enamel, the colour, and technique are all
perfect in their way, but the art and design of the objects do not by
any means equal the workmanship; this was of course due to the false
taste of the period, when the rococo element in design was fashionable
everywhere (Fig. 78). Vases, statuettes, scent bottles, compotiers,
bowls, cups, saucers, animals, birds, fruit, and flowers were made by
Sprimont in an extravagant style of design.

In 1769 William Duesbury, of the Derby porcelain works, purchased the
Chelsea manufactory, and six years later he acquired the Bow porcelain
works. A less extravagant style of design and decoration characterized
the Chelsea-Derby productions, a specimen of which is seen in the
cooper’s bowl, Fig. 79.

[Illustration: Fig. 78.—Chelsea Vase; Jones Collection. (S.K.M.)]

The Bow China factory was owned by two partners, Weatherby and Crowther,
in 1750; the former died in 1762, and the latter failed in the business
in 1763. Duesbury, of Derby, bought up the Bow works in 1776, when he
removed the moulds and models. Chelsea and Bow ware are very similar in
design and appearance, and consequently a difficulty exists in
classifying doubtful pieces. There are a great many examples of Bow
porcelain in the Schreiber gift in the South Kensington Museum, and
Professor Church is of the opinion that they are mostly authentic
specimens. The Chinese-shaped vase with the rococo and Louis-Seize
decorations is a typical example of the Bow porcelain (Fig. 80).

[Illustration: Fig. 79.—Bowl of Chelsea-Derby Porcelain.]

[Illustration: Fig. 80.—Bow Porcelain Vase. (S.K.M.)]

[Illustration: Fig. 81.—Derby Statuette.]

The date of founding of the Derby porcelain works is not exactly known,
except that certain pieces of Derby ware have been advertised for
auction “after the finest Dresden models” in 1756 and up to 1770,
proving that the works must have been going on during these periods.
According to Professor Church, William Duesbury, the first of that name,
was connected with the Derby works in 1756, and died in 1786. He was
succeeded by his son of the same name, who took into partnership Michael
Kean in 1795. This W. Duesbury died in 1796. The works were carried on
by another William Duesbury until the year 1815, when they passed into
the hands of Robert Bloor, who carried the manufactory on until 1848,
when it ceased. Locher, a manager of Bloor’s, started another factory
after this which still exists to-day. The Derby coloured porcelain
statuettes are imitated more or less from Dresden ware, even to the
Dresden marks of the crossed swords (Fig. 81), which marks are copied by
a great many porcelain manufacturers. The cup and saucer (Fig. 82) is a
specimen of early Crown Derby. The borders are deep blue and the
festoons pink. Some of the names of the painters who were engaged at the
Crown Derby works are:—F. Duvivier (1769), P. Stephan (1770), R. Askew
(1772), J. J. Spengler (1790), and W. J. Coffee (1791). Askew was a
clever figure painter. Deep blues, reds, and greens, with lavish
gilding, and ornament of a very conventional character, are found on
some of the late Derby cups, saucers, and plates.

WORCESTER porcelain was first made by a company consisting of fifteen
shareholders, formed in the year 1751 by Dr. Wall and Mr. W. Davis, the
inventors. The name given to the early ware was the “Tonquin porcelain
of Worcester.” These works have been going almost without interruption
under different names of proprietors until the present day.

[Illustration: Fig. 82.—Crown Derby Covered Cup and Saucer.]

Vases and other objects in Worcester porcelain of the early period were
decided imitations of Chinese and Japanese wares, but at the same time
they were dignified examples both as to form and decoration compared
with the meaningless rococo designs of Chelsea and Bow.

The vase (Fig. 83), in the Schreiber Collection, is Oriental in form and
decoration, but has a restrained character of its own that is not
usually met with in the contemporary wares of the period.

[Illustration: Fig. 83.—Worcester Vase. (S.K.M.)]

The vases are the chief glory of Worcester ware; in colour they are
exceedingly rich, having grounds of “gros bleu,” turquoise, pea-green,
maroon, and a fine shade of yellow; gold is also used in modified

We have mentioned before the mode of decoration by transfer printing
adopted by Janssen on the Battersea enamels and by Sadler and Green on
the Liverpool delft; this style of decoration was extensively employed
by the Worcester decorators for the fillings of the panels with
landscapes and rustic figures, after engravings by Watteau,
Gainsborough, and others.

Dresden and Sèvres wares were imitated at Worcester, and it is generally
thought that when this was done—during the period 1768-1783—the
Worcester ware was at its best. This was the middle period, and towards
the time that ended about the beginning of this century the designs
became laboured, and lavish use of gold rendered the work vulgar and

Josiah and Richard Holdship and R. Handcock are names of some of the
principal artists of the early and middle period. Donaldson, Neale, and
Foggo were names of enamellers who worked at the Worcester pottery. A
curious design in this ware of a tobacco-pipe bowl (Fig. 84) is in the
Schreiber Collection.

PLYMOUTH porcelain manufactory was established by William Cookworthy
(1705-80), who was the first to discover in England the real China clay
or kaolin, about the year 1755. Cookworthy had a good knowledge of
chemistry, and was a wholesale chemist and druggist. He found both the
China clay and China stone at Tregonning Hill and at two other places in
Cornwall. A patent was granted to him in 1768 for the manufacture of
porcelain, and the firm of “Cookworthy and Co.” established itself at
Coxside, Plymouth. A French ceramic artist named Sequoi was engaged to
superintend the works. The Plymouth works were not of long duration, for
shortly afterwards they were removed to Bristol, and Richard Champion,
of Bristol, obtained a licence from Cookworthy to make the Plymouth
porcelain, and bought the entire rights from the latter in 1773. From
this date until 1781 Champion owned the Castle Green works at Bristol
which formerly belonged to Cookworthy. Statuettes, vases, rustic pieces,
teapots, cups and saucers, &c., were made in both Plymouth and Bristol
china, many of them being imitations of Sèvres and Oriental wares.

[Illustration: Fig. 84.—Bowl of Tobacco-pipe, Worcester Ware.]

In Staffordshire many porcelain works are still in existence that began
in the last century or early in this, such as Longton Hall, New Hall,
Spode, Wedgwood, and Minton, but space prevents us from giving any
details of their work. Liverpool, Lowestoft, Coalport, Swansea,
Nantgarw, and Rockingham may be mentioned as other places where English
porcelain was made.

                           CHINESE PORCELAIN.

[Illustration: Fig. 85.—Chinese Vase.]

The manufacture of porcelain in China, according to their own accounts,
dates for more than two hundred years before the Christian era. The
composition of Chinese porcelain is of two elements: one, the infusible
argillaceous earth or clay called kaolin; and the other the
“pe-tun-tse,” which is feldspar slightly altered, a micaceous mineral
and quartz or silica, which is fusible. The latter is used with or
without other mixtures to form a glaze for hard porcelain. Other
materials are sometimes used in the glaze, but, unlike the enamel of
earthenware, tin or lead is not used.

The Chinese made their porcelain in different degrees of translucency.
The kind made especially for the Emperor’s use, such as cups, saucers,
and rice plates of a ruby-red tint, are very thin and almost

The porcelain coloured in turquoise blue, violet, sea-green, and celadon
are of the oldest varieties made. Yellow, the colour of Ming dynasty, is
a common colour in Chinese porcelain.

The Chinese decorated their vases sometimes without much regard to the
spacing or divisions of body, neck, or foot (Fig. 85). Landscapes,
dragons, fanciful kylins, dogs, and lions, as well as nearly all kinds
of natural objects were used by them as decoration. Conventional
renderings of flowers and foliage and geometric ornament are often used
in a judicious sense.


  Fig. 86.—Oriental Porcelain; Chinese, with French Ormolu Mounting.

Peculiar shapes of vases, such as the square, hexagonal, and octagonal
forms, are found very frequent in Oriental ware. The vase (Fig. 86),
from the Jones Collection, is a less extravagant example of Chinese
porcelain than usual; the egg-shaped body is, however, the only Oriental
part of the vase.

[Illustration: Fig. 87.—Japanese Ancient Vase; _circa_ B.C. 640.]

JAPANESE ware is more interesting and more varied in design, though not
so gaudy in appearance as the Chinese, owing to the higher sense of
artistic feeling and individuality of the Japanese artists. The art, as
seen in the ceramic productions as well as in most other things of
Japanese art and design, was originally borrowed from the older nation
of China and from the Coreans. From their keen sense of beauty, and also
greater artistic power, the art products of the Japanese are superior to
those of China.

The first glazed pottery made in Japan is supposed to date from the year
1230—this was made at Seto by Tôshiro, who had learnt the art in China,
and the first porcelain just before the year 1513, for the maker of this
early Japanese porcelain—Shonsui, a Chinese potter—had returned to China
in that year.

[Illustration: Fig. 88.—Incense-Burner, Satsuma Ware; _circa_ 1720.]

Pottery of an inferior kind was made anterior to the Christian era, but
probably the oldest known was made by the people who occupied the
country before the present Japanese. The ancient vase (Fig. 87) is an
example of this early ware. It is of a coarse kind of earthenware, baked
or fired in a hole in the ground, over which and around the vessel was
built a wood fire.

[Illustration: Fig. 89.—Incense-Burner, Arita Ware; _circa_ 1710.]

Japanese wares are of three kinds: the common stoneware ornamented with
scratched lines and glazed; a crackled glazed ware with painted
decorations; and the porcelain. The porcelain of Japan is first baked to
the biscuit state, then the colours of the decoration are applied, and
the piece is afterwards glazed, and is again fired at a greater heat.
The gilding or enamel colours that may be required are put on
afterwards, when a third firing at a lower temperature is necessary. The
Japanese porcelain paste does not stand the firing so well as the
Chinese, and consequently the pieces are often twisted and altered in

[Illustration: Fig. 90.—Pierced Glazed Water-bottle, from Madura. (B.)]

The factories of Hizen are among the very oldest and are still in
working order in Japan. Old Hizen ware is decorated with blue paintings.

The pottery and porcelain of Seto manufacture is highly esteemed, and
the name of _Setomono_ has been given by the Japanese to their porcelain

The Kutani ware is a coarse porcelain, known also under the name of Kaga
ware; the pieces with a red ground and gold ornamentation are highly
valued. It is also glazed with deep green, light purple, and yellow

One of the most famous and costliest Japanese wares is the old Satsuma,
which was first made by the Corean potters who settled in the village of
Nawashirogawa, in the province of Satsuma, about 1600. This ware is of a
dark cream colour, with a crackled glaze, and is decorated with red,
green, and gold outlined ornament (Fig. 88)

A specimen of the Hizen potteries porcelain, Arita ware, is illustrated
at Fig. 89, of an incense-burner. It is painted in bright colours of
red, green, pale blue, and has some gilding. It is decorated with hares
or rabbits and waves in the panels and dragons on the cover.

                            INDIAN POTTERY.

The making of pottery is universal throughout India. The unglazed wares
are made everywhere, and of various colours. Red glazed pottery is made
at Dinapur, gilt pottery at Amroha and in Rajputana; black and silver
pottery at Azimghar in the north-west, and at Surujgarrah in Bengal;
painted pottery at Kota, the unglazed pierced variety at Madura, and the
celebrated glazed pottery made at Sindh and in the Punjaub.

[Illustration: Fig. 91.—Glazed Pottery of Sindh. (B.)]

It may be said that in general the pottery of India is good in shape,
colour, and decoration, the latter never violating its purpose, nor
distracting the eye from the shape of the vessel. The designs are very
simple, and repeating, perhaps to monotony in many cases; but the
painted pottery decoration, by reason of its broad and direct
application, although the ornament is very simple in character, is
better, and less monotonous, for instance, than the Indian wood-carving
decoration. The designs take the form of panels of flower and leaf
ornament placed side by side, bands of guilloches, chevrons, running
ornament, and lines, the knop-and-flower pattern, and a panel filling or
an all-over decoration consisting of diapered flowers, leaves, or stars.
The elegant shaped water bottle from Madura (Fig. 90) is pierced so that
the air may circulate round the inner porous bowl. This ware is coloured
a dark green or a golden brown glaze.

[Illustration: Fig. 92.—Glazed Pottery of Sindh. (B.)]

The Sindh glazed pottery is beautiful, though very simple in colour and
decoration. The colours are mostly blue of two or three shades,
turquoise greens, and creamy whites, and sometimes the glaze is purple,
golden brown, or yellow. Many of the vases are bulbous or oviform in
shape, with wide necks and bottoms, and are decorated with the _Sventi_,
or daisy-like flower (Fig. 91), or the lotus (Fig. 92).

[Illustration: Fig. 93—Enamelled Tile, from Sindh. (B.)]

The enamelled tile from Sindh (Fig. 93) has a knop-and-flower
decoration, the larger flower having the character of an iris, and, at
the same time, something of the lotus flower in its composition.

                              CHAPTER II.

Enamelling is the art of applying a vitreous material to an object, as
decoration, to the surface of which it is made to adhere by heat. Metals
are the usual foundations to which enamels are applied, but stone,
earthenware, and glass may be enamelled. When one speaks of “an enamel”
we understand it to mean a metal that is ornamented by a vitreous
decoration fused and fixed to the metal surface by heat. There are three
principal kinds of enamels: the “embedded or encrusted,” the
“translucent upon relief,” and the “painted.” Some enamelled objects
have a mixture of two methods.

The embedded or so-called encrusted kind has two varieties, which are
best known under their French names, the _Cloisonné_ and the
_Champlevé_. When floated in a transparent state over a bas-relief,
showing the chased details below, it is _translucent_, or, as it is
called by the French, _émaux de basse-taille_. The _painted_ is a later
variety developed by the school of Limoges.

The Cloisonné is the oldest variety; it is that in which the Greek or
Byzantine enamels are made, and also the Chinese. In this method of
enamelling the plate or metal foundation which is to receive the enamel
is first cut to the required shape, and a little rim of gold ribbon
soldered around it.

The design is formed by narrow strips of gold ribbon or filigree,
fastened to the foundation by a strong gum or cement, and bent to form
the lines of the design. The cells thus formed are filled in with the
enamel in a fine powdered state, or in a paste, the vitreous materials
of the selected enamel having previously been tried, as to their colour
and time required for perfect and equal fusion.

The piece is then placed in a furnace or “muffle,” sufficiently open so
that the progress of the fusing can be watched while firing, and
withdrawn when perfectly fused. As the enamel generally sinks lower than
the walls of the cells after fusion, it is necessary to add a second
thin coating, or sometimes more, and to re-fire it in order to fill all
the cavities. After this the work will require grinding down and
polishing to level the surface and restore the brilliancy of the colours
that may be slightly deadened by the cooling of the enamel.

The materials of enamel colours are metallic oxides. These colours are
finely pulverized, washed, and mixed with vitreous compounds, called
fluxes, which are easily fusible, and in melting impart an extra
brilliancy to the colours, and form with them by fusion the almost
imperishable substance of enamel.

The Champlevé enamels are made in the same way as the Cloisonné, with
this exception, that instead of the thin gold ribbons or filigree work
forming the design, the walls of the cells that compose the design and
separate the enamel colours in the Champlevé variety are formed by the
hollowing out of the thick metal—usually copper—and leaving the design
to be formed out of the thin partitions that are left standing. The
cavities are filled with the enamel mixtures and fused as in the
Cloisonné method.

On account of the articles being small, and also being mostly made on a
gold foundation, they were more likely to have been stolen or melted
down, and this accounts in a great measure for the scarcity of Cloisonné
enamels in our collections. The Champlevé, on the other hand, being
generally enamels on copper or brass, that from the cheapness of those
materials, larger vessels and other objects were extensively made, and
from both size and lesser value of the materials they were more likely
to have escaped the melting-pot.

When the foundation of the Champlevé enamels was copper, the lines of
this metal that formed the design would be gilt with an amalgam of
melted gold and mercury, and the piece re-fired at a lower temperature,
in order not to injure or disturb the enamel surface.

“Translucent” enamel upon reliefs known as _de basse taille_ is the art
of enamelling reliefs of silver or gold that have previously been chased
or engraved with the design required. The enamel is laid on in various
degrees of thickness, according to the strength of shading or depth of
tone required. The transparent varieties of enamels are selected for
these works, and opaque varieties avoided.

“Painted” enamels were suggested by the translucent enamels upon
reliefs. The extensive demand for the latter variety, and the great
number executed, gave rise to the invention of using enamel colours as
in oil-painting; that is, instead of engraving the subject or design
previously on the metal, the method of expressing with the brush the
drawing and the light and shade with the enamel colours direct was
resorted to, on grounds specially prepared upon copper surfaces. Labarte
believes that the modification in the art of glass painting introduced
in the fourteenth century had the effect of causing enamel painters to
experiment in painting with the enamel colours direct, as in painting on

About this time the method of painting on glass was introduced, which
formerly was decorated by simply using the pieces of _stained_ or
coloured glass as in mosaic work, the only difference between the
superficial glass painting and the painting in enamels being that in the
latter the opaque enamel colours are used instead of the transparent as
in glass painting. It was, however, a considerable time from the
introduction of painting on enamels before any good specimens of the art
were executed.

Among the earliest specimens of Cloisonné enamels was the golden altar
given to the cathedral of Sta. Sophia at Constantinople by Justinian.

[Illustration: Fig. 94.—Altar Tray and Chalice, Cloisonné Enamel; Sixth
Century (?).]

This altar was dismantled and divided amongst the Crusaders at the
taking of Constantinople in 1204. The next important works in date are
the gold altar of Ambrose at Milan, made by Volvinius in 825; the votive
crown of St. Mark, Venice, 886-911; the Limburg reliquary made for Basil
II. (the Macedonian), 976; and the famous altar, the Pala d’Oro, in St.
Mark’s, Venice, 976-1105, made at Constantinople, and brought from there
to Venice by order of the Doge Ordelafo Faliero. This altar had precious
stones added to it and was enlarged in 1209 and in 1345. If the crown of
Charlemagne (Fig. 96) was used at his coronation it would make the date
of the four enamelled gold plates with the figures of Solomon, David,
and Our Lord between two seraphim and Esaias and Hezekiah, anterior to
the year A.D. 800, when he was crowned. These enamels are enclosed in
filigree bands and sunk into the metal in the Greek manner.

The sword of Charlemagne, made in the ninth century, has the golden
scabbard inlaid with filagree Cloisonné enamels. Both the sword and
crown are in the Imperial treasury at Vienna.

The gold altar tray and chalice (Fig. 94) were found near Gourdon, in
the Department of the Haute-Saône. The altar tray has a cross in the
centre, and lozenge and trefoil ornaments of Cloisonné garnet-coloured
enamels. Greek coins of the sixth century were found with it.

The Byzantine reliquary (Fig. 95) is another example of Cloisonné work.

At Cologne, in the cathedral, is the shrine of the Magi that contains
the skulls of the “Three Kings.” This is a magnificent reliquary made by
the order of the Archbishop Philip von Heinsberg in two storeys, both of
which have a series of arcades with figures in each. It is also an
example of enamelled work in which the Cloisonné and Champlevé processes
may be seen.

The first authentic or dated specimens of Champlevé enamels belong to
the twelfth century, though some specimens are likely of an earlier
date. Some crosses and other works of the dates 1041-1054 show a mixture
of the two embedded varieties of enamels.

It is probable that the Rhenish Provinces of Germany were the first
places where Champlevé enamels were extensively made; but almost
simultaneously in the twelfth century there arose an active centre of
work in this method in Limoges, the future great seat of the enamel

[Illustration: Fig. 95—Byzantine Reliquary, Cloisonné Enamel; Tenth

The German variety may be distinguished from the French by the greater
number of colours employed: there is a difficulty in deciding which of
the two is the earlier.

The Abbé Suger, when building the Abbey of St. Denis, brought enamellers
from Loraine, near the Rhine, to make an enamelled cross, which they
completed between 1143 and 1147. A portable altar, and a cruciform
reliquary with a dome, in the treasury at Hanover, are early examples of
the German school. One of these portable altars in enamel, of the German
school, thirteenth century, is shown at Fig. 98. The earliest Champlevé
enamel of the Limoges school is that of the monument to Geoffrey
Plantagenet, who died in 1151. It is now in the Museum of Le Mans (Fig.

[Illustration: Fig. 96.—Crown of Charlemagne.]

[Illustration: Fig. 97.—Champlevé Enamel of Geoffrey Plantagenet.]

At Limoges towards the end of the twelfth century Champlevé enamels were
made in great numbers. Two specimens of this date are in the Cluny
Museum in Paris: one has the subject of the adoration of the Magi, and
the other St. Stephen with St. Nicholas, both having Limousin legends.
In the same museum are Champlevé enamels as book-covers of the Gospels,
croziers, plaques, and “gemellions.” The latter is the name given to
certain hand-basins used for religious purposes. In the Louvre is an
example of Champlevé enamel—a ciborium of the fourteenth century. This
is a vessel in which the Host is kept. Another vessel used for similar
purposes is the _pyx_. Both are small round boxes in which the sacred
wafers were kept, and were used for carrying the sacrament to the sick.
Ciboria were also in the forms of doves or little towers suspended over
the altar. They were kept in little cupboards on either side of the
altar, and at later periods the name “ciborium” was applied to the
tabernacles having architectural pretensions erected over the altar, and
which had a canopy or curtain used as a covering. These tabernacles
became shrines of great size and beauty in the fifteenth and sixteenth
centuries, and were carved in wood as that in Nuremberg by Adam Kraft,
or were stone erections of great dimensions with sculptured figures as
decorations, the doors of which were often made in gold and enamelled.
Fig. 423 (previous volume) is an example of a fifteenth-century
tabernacle with a gilt metal door.


  Fig. 98.—Portable Altar; German,
  Thirteenth Century.

When Justinian rebuilt Sta. Sophia he placed in it a ciborium or
tabernacle of great splendour. Ciboria are now changed into what are
known as _baldacchinos_.

In the Kensington and British Museums are many examples of Champlevé
enamels, both German and Limoges, such as book-covers, croziers, pricket
candlesticks, châsses, chefs, reliquaries, paxes, crosses, and nuptial
caskets, &c. Most of them have blue grounds, with light bluish-grey and
dark blue or green ornaments, and are usually enamelled on copper. Some
of the reliquaries or châsses have gilt figures in high relief. From the
eleventh to the fourteenth centuries is the date of these enamels.

In the latter end of the thirteenth and in the fourteenth centuries
enamels became simplified in execution; the figures were mostly incised
and gilt, and the background a level coating of enamel—generally of a
blue colour. (Fig. 100.)

Fig. 99 is a Limoges enamelled châsse or shrine of the twelfth century,
and is in the British Museum.

The Italians did not make Champlevé enamels; but they worked in the
Cloisonné process from the eleventh to the fifteenth centuries, as we
know from examples, and from the work, “Diversarum Artium Schedula,”
written by the learned monk Theophilus, in the twelfth century, wherein
he describes very minutely the whole process of making Cloisonné
enamels, according to the methods of the Tuscan enamellers of his time.

[Illustration: Fig. 99.—Châsse in Champlevé Enamel; Twelfth Century.

As regards the antiquity of the art of enamelling on metal, it is
generally agreed by learned authorities in the matter that before the
art was known at Constantinople or in the workshops of Greece, it was
practised by the “barbarians” of Western Europe in the Gallo-Roman
period. We apologize for quoting here the oft-repeated passage from
Philostratus, the Greek who established himself at Rome in the early
part of the third century at the request of the Empress Julia, wife of
Septimus Severus. In his “Treatise upon Images” he says: “It is said
that the barbarians living near the ocean pour colours upon heated
brass, so that these adhere and become like stone, and preserve the
design represented.”

[Illustration: Fig. 100.—Champlevé Enamel; French, Fourteenth Century.]

This passage proves at any rate in Greece and in Italy enamelling on
metal was an unknown art in the third century, the time in which this
Greek writer lived, and sufficient examples exactly answering his
description have been found in Gaul and in Britain, in Roman
burial-places and in caves, all bearing evidences of belonging to this
period. The Celtic objects in vitreous enamel are on bronze or copper,
and prove that enamelling was an art carried on in the Roman Provinces
of Gaul and Britain, which was unknown in Italy at that time.

[Illustration: Fig. 101.—Enamelled Vase, found in Essex in 1834, since
partially destroyed by fire. Diameter, 4¾ inches.]

The beautiful vessel at Fig. 101, found in a Roman sepulchre in the
Bartlow Hills, in Essex, is a fine example of this early enamel. Other
existing specimens of the Gallo-Roman period are in the Museum at
Poitiers, in the Imperial Library, Paris, and in the Museums of London.
From the Gallo-Roman period until the eleventh century most of the arts
were at a low ebb, owing to the devastating wars and invasions that
spread all over Europe; the art of enamelling had been almost lost, and
had quite died out in France and Germany, but is likely to have still
been practised in Ireland, where no doubt the art of the goldsmith and
the enameller in conjunction had flourished less disturbed than in
France or England. We have existing remains of pure Irish Celtic work
that date from the ninth and probably earlier centuries, and are of
unsurpassed workmanship. Chalices, books of the Gospels, croziers,
reliquaries, brooches, jewellery, &c., more or less enamelled, were made
in the ninth century, and some earlier. Ireland had a school of living
art when in the ninth and tenth centuries the rest of Christendom was
sitting wrapped in chaotic gloominess, idly awaiting the supposed end of
the world, in A.D. 1000. As regards our present subject, we must notice
as coming under the head of enamels that beautiful Irish relic known as
the Ardagh Chalice. (Fig. 102.) The body of the cup is silver with about
one-third or one-fourth of copper alloy. It is a wonderful mixture of
metals, there being gold, silver, copper, bronze, brass, and lead; and
an iron bolt secures the stem and bowl together. The ornaments are
belts, and the handles, to which are fastened the beautifully designed
and worked interlacings of Celtic ornament, of which each little panel
is different; it is said that forty distinct varieties in the designs
can be traced, consisting of interlaced bands of Celtic twistings,
knots, and arabesques: each compartment of the principal belt of
ornament is divided by a boss, or enamelled bead, of which there are
twelve. The handles are composed of enamels and filigree work similar to
the work of the belt, but different in design, with blue glass or paste
bosses. The two larger circular ornaments on the sides are composed of
gold filigree with a central enamelled boss. The four settings of these
ornaments had two pieces of blue glass paste and two pieces of amber,
which have fallen out.

[Illustration: Fig. 102.—The Ardagh Chalice; Irish Celtic Work. Height,
7 inches.]

The stem is composed of bronze metal gilt, and is richly chased with
interlaced ornaments. The circular foot is ornamented with gold and
bronze plaques alternating on the outer rim; the bronze divisions are

The inside, or under the foot of the cup, is divided into a series of
circular divisions around a central crystal, composed of amber and
bronze, gold filigree, amber, bronze, and translucent green enamels
respectively. In some of the enamels were embedded small portions or
grains of gold while the enamel was in fusion. There is a chiselled
inscription on the plain surface of the bowl consisting of the names of
the Apostles. The workmanship of this exquisite chalice is infinitely
superior to the Byzantine work of the same period.

A detailed and exhaustive description of this chalice is given in Miss
Stokes’s “Early Christian Art in Ireland,” from which our illustration
is taken.

Going back to the ninth century, we have the ring of King Ethelwulf,
bearing his name, which is of Saxon workmanship. It was found in
Hampshire, and is made of gold and blue-black enamel. Another ring, that
of Alfred the Great, was found at Athelney in Somersetshire, the place
where Alfred retired to in 878. It is of gold, wrought in filigree and
chased. The face is of rock crystal, and the design is in filigree
fastened to the gold plate and enamelled in the Byzantine manner. Round
the edge is the inscription (translated), “Alfred ordered me to be

Enamelled disks, fibulæ, finger rings, and other articles of personal
adornment have been found in England of the Anglo-Saxon period, mostly
having a bronze foundation for the enamel.

Documents are preserved at Oxford proving that Limoges enamellers were
brought over to England in the thirteenth century to execute effigies,
tombs, and other work in enamels. Master John, a native of Limoges, was
employed to construct the tomb and recumbent figure of Walter de Merton,
Bishop of Rochester. This work was destroyed at the period of the
Reformation. There still exists, however, some of the Limoges work of
that date in the effigy of William de Valence, who died in 1129. This
tomb is in Westminster Abbey.

The enamels known as _émaux de plique à jour_, are a kind of Cloisonné
work in which there was no background, the enamel being in variety
transparent, in imitation of precious stones, and set between the
Cloisons or network of gold. The beautiful specimen (Fig. 103) is a cup
with a cover, and with architectural features; it is now in South
Kensington Museum.

Translucent enamels upon relief date from the period when Art in Italy
was beginning to throw off the stiffness and angularity of Byzantine
traditions. This was towards the end of the thirteenth century, in the
early dawn of the Renaissance.

Freedom in sculpture and painting brought with it a desire to treat
enamels in the same freedom, and so we find that engraving on silver and
gold, and placing carefully the various powdered enamels in their proper
proportions over the engraved surfaces, produced an entirely new and
splendid effect; besides, it required more artistic skill to execute
this kind of enamelling, and consequently the best artists of the
Renaissance were not only goldsmiths, painters, sculptors, and
architects, but executed important works in enamels as well. The method
was one that could be described as a link between the art of the painter
and the goldsmith, and no doubt the demand for enamelled altars, and
religious vessels of all kinds, both sacred and secular, in the
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, was the cause of producing many
artists that subsequently rose to great eminence. For instance, among
others may be mentioned Francisco Francia, the celebrated painter who
lived in the fifteenth century, who was originally a goldsmith, and as
Vasari says, he excelled everybody of his time as an engraver on metals
and as an enameller on silver. There is a fine oil-painting by him in
the National Gallery of London, on which he has signed himself as
“Francia the Goldsmith.” Many names of eminent Italians artists might be
given who executed works in enamel in the translucent process: Nicolas
Pisano and John his pupil, who executed an altar for Bishop Gubertini of
Arezzo in translucent enamel on silver in 1286. Agostino and Agnolo were
pupils of John, and helped him at this altar.

[Illustration: Fig. 103.—Cup of Translucent Enamel. (S.K.M.)]

Forzore, the son of Spinello of Arezzo, is mentioned by Vasari as a
famous enameller. Pollaiuolo is another great name in the Italian art of
the goldsmith and enameller. He was also a celebrated modeller and
sculptor who had helped Ghiberti in the ornamental work of his gates of
the Baptistery of St. John. He died in 1498. Many other celebrated names
could be mentioned, but the greatest of all, both as a goldsmith and as
an enameller, was Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1570), whose work is well
known, and who tells us himself, in his “Treatise on the Goldsmith’s
Art,” so much about the method of enamelling in his time. The celebrated
ewer, called “The Cellini Ewer,” is a masterpiece of jeweller’s work,
and is attributed to Cellini. The body of the ewer is composed of two
oval slices of brown sardonyx, carved with radiating ribs in relief.
These slices are fastened in an ornamental frame of gold, richly worked.
A female figure sits on the top front curve of the body under the lip.
The neck, lip, stem with dragons, and other parts of the framework, are
enamelled in the translucent method.

A book-cover in the Kensington Museum, of very fine workmanship, with
several small figure compositions enamelled on gold, is attributed to
Cellini. Works by him in jewellery, vases, salt-cellars, &c., are
preserved in various museums on the Continent. Cellini spent five years
in France, ending the year 1540, where he executed some works for
Francis I., notably the fine salt-cellar now at Vienna.

The art of enamelling on reliefs was introduced to France by Italian
artists during the early years of the fourteenth century, and about the
same time to Flanders. We read of a manufactory of this kind of
enamelling as having existed in 1317 at Montpellier, the seat of the
royal Mint.

“Painted enamels,” as we have seen, were suggested by the translucent
enamels on relief. Painted enamels were first made at Limoges, and also
brought to great perfection at the same place. Any painted enamels found
in Italy are Limoges enamels or the work of Limousin artists. The
fifteenth century was the period during which the painted enamels were
brought to perfection. In the earlier part of the century the enamel was
applied directly to the plate of metal and united to it by fusion; but
later, towards the middle of the century, a ground of translucent enamel
coating was laid on the metal, over the engraved outline of the design,
and on this transparent flux the colours were applied. The outlines of
the design, which appeared through the transparent coating, were then
covered over with a dark-coloured enamel; the various parts, such as
draperies, background, and sky, were then laid in with thick coatings of
enamel; the spaces left for the flesh tints were filled in with black or
violet enamel; and the modelling of the flesh was obtained by layers of
white enamel in varying degrees of thickness, leaving the darker violet
parts for shade or shadows, and thicker layers represented the highest
lights. Thus, all the flesh tints in enamels of this period are slightly
brownish or violet in hue.

The other parts of the design were left without shadow, or sometimes the
highest points in the hair or draperies would have little fine touches
of gold pencillings, in order to bring out some kind of relief.
Imitations of precious stones or jewellery on the dresses were brought
out in translucent bits of enamel.

An entire change in the process is seen in the Limoges painted enamels
of the sixteenth century. The plate of metal was covered with a layer of
black or some very dark-coloured enamel, and the design carefully
outlined in white. The whole work was then modelled up with white, laid
on in varying thicknesses, so as to produce an effect of light and shade
called _grisaille_ (grey), the flesh tints being slightly higher in
relief than the other parts, and a flesh-coloured enamel being always
employed. Fine touchings of white and gold were added to finish off the

To make a coloured enamel of the grisaille work it was only necessary to
add a thin transparent coating of coloured enamel.

Some splendid effects of a translucent character were obtained in the
enamels of this period by the use of gold and silver leaf (_paillon_)
fixed on the enamel ground behind the draperies and other accessories,
and sometimes on the backgrounds. Over this leaf of shining metal
transparent enamels were painted. Armour, imitation jewellery, and other
accessories were rendered by this means of a rich and dazzling
brilliancy. In the Kensington Collection many examples of this kind of
enamelling may be seen.

One work amongst others is an oval plaque of the sixteenth-century
Limoges enamel, which has a representation of a warrior on horseback,
and has portions of the armour in translucent enamel. The horse is
white, and the groundwork dark. It is one of the best works of the
Courtois family.

The enamel painters of Limoges had many methods and secrets in the
exercise of their art, and, as a rule, kept them in their families.
Generally speaking, we find many enamellers of the same name and family,
and their works bear also a strong family likeness, both in subject,
colour, and methods.

The greatest name amongst these Limoges artists is Léonard Limousin.
This surname was bestowed on him by Francis I. to distinguish him from
Leonardo da Vinci. Léonard Limousin was the chief enameller to this
monarch, and worked at his art between the years of 1532-74. Léonard in
his early works copied his subjects from engravings of the German school
of artists, but at a later period, owing to the influence of the Italian
artists that were brought to the Court of Francis I., he adopted the
subjects of Raphael and the Italian masters. He also improved at this
period in his colour and drawing. Some of his best works are those that
he painted in the year 1553 for the Sainte-Chapelle by order of Henry
II., which consist of two magnificent frames of pictures in enamel, now
in the Louvre, and which are acknowledged as his masterpieces. He also
excelled in portraits, among which from his hand are those of the Duke
de Guise, the Constable de Montmorenci, and that of Catherine de’ Medici
in her mourning robes, taken after the death of Henry II. A full-length
portrait of Henry II. is preserved in the Louvre, executed by Léonard.
The monarch is represented in the character of St. Thomas, and is
painted on a white enamel ground, as several other works by this artist
are similarly executed. This style of work looks, however, too much like
majolica painting, and was not persevered in to any great extent.
Léonard was noted for some good original work, both in oils and enamel;
but, generally speaking, the Limoges enamellers were fond of copying
subjects from German, Italian, and French engravers, who engraved many
works after the great painters of these countries. The German engravers
were known under the name of the “Petits-Maîtres,” many of whom were
pupils or imitators of Albert Dürer. Some of the more important were
Heinrich Aldegrever, Hans Sebald Behan, Virgilis Solis, Theodore de Bry,
Jean Collaert, Albrecht Altdorfen, and Georg Pens. Two celebrated French
engravers who supplied many designs for the Limoges enamellers were
Étienne de Laulne, known also as Stephanus, and Pierre Woeiriot, the
former a copper-plate and the latter a wood engraver. The Courtois and
Raymond enamels have many subjects from the designs of Étienne de
Laulne. Another engraver, Marc Antonio Raimondi, of the Italian school
(1500-1540), supplied copies of the works of Raphael to the Limousin
enamellers, and also to the Italian majolica painters. This engraver was
the most celebrated of his time. He was a pupil at first of “Francia the
Goldsmith,” learnt much from Albert Dürer and Lucas van Leyden, and was
the engraver of many of the works of Raphael, which he executed in what
is known as his Roman method.

In the British Museum there is the enamel of the twelve Sibyls of
Léonard Limousin, painted about 1550.

Another well-known name is that of Pierre Raymond. He painted chiefly in
grisaille, or in camaïeu, and not often in colour. His works date from
1534 to 1572 (Figs. 104 and 105).

The Pénicaud family (_circa_ 1540) consists of four enamel painters of
this name—Jean Pénicaud, the elder, Jean Pénicaud, junior, Pierre
Pénicaud, and N. Pénicaud.

The elder Pénicaud was a good draughtsman, and often employed “paillon”
to get the rich colouring in which he excelled. He executed portraits of
Luther and Erasmus, which are signed with his initials.

[Illustration: Fig. 104.—Portion of a Salt-cellar, by Pierre Raymond.]

The Courtois or Courteys family was another celebrated family of
painters on enamel. Pierre Courtois was the eldest (_circa_ 1550). He
painted some of the largest enamels ever executed. These were large oval
panels measuring 66 inches in height by 40 inches in width, on which
were painted the subjects of the cardinal virtues and heathen
divinities, and which formerly decorated the façade of the Château de
Madrid, built by Francis I. and Henry II. They are signed and dated
1559. In his larger works Pierre Courtois does not show himself so good
in his draughtsmanship as in his smaller enamels.

Jean Courtois (_circa_ 1560) was a prolific enameller. His work is
characterized by a profusion of arabesque ornament of the period of
Henry II. His flesh tints and other parts of his compositions are
generally highly coloured, the flesh having a salmon-coloured tint.

[Illustration: Fig. 105.—Vase; Painted Enamel, by Pierre Raymond.]

Another member of this family signs his work I. D. C. His principal
figures are usually hammered out in relief, and his work is of a high

Jean Court (_circa_ 1555) was also known under his other surname of
“Vigier.” He was formerly confounded with Jean Courtois, but his work is
different from the latter’s. His drawing is better, and his colouring
not so strong but more natural than that of Jean Courtois.

Suzaune Court, as she signed herself, was an enameller of the school of
Jean Courtois.

Martial Raymond (_circa_ 1590) was an artist of considerable power, and
a goldsmith, who worked at the end of the sixteenth century. His work is
usually heightened with gold, and he used “paillon” very much.

Jean Limousin (_circa_ 1625), and François Limousin (1633), were
enamellers who carried out the traditions of the Limoges school in a
worthy manner during the early part of the seventeenth century.

The former passes for the son of Léonard Limousin, and was supposed,
from the fleur-de-lis that always appears between his initials on his
works, to have been the director of the royal manufactory at Limoges, as
his predecessor Léonard was in the reign of Francis I. Jean Limousin
executed some beautiful enamels, in which the translucent birds,
arabesques, and small figures were treated with rare delicacy.

In the reign of Louis XIV. (1643-1715) Jaques Nouailher introduced a new
kind of enamel, which consisted of modelling in relief on copper with a
white enamel paste, and afterwards covering it with a transparent
coloured enamel.

Pierre Nouailher was another enameller of this family who was noted for
his correctness of drawing.

The school of Limoges of this date exhibits a greater correctness of
drawing, accompanied with a marked diminution of good colouring; the
enamels of the seventeenth century show a decline of that splendour of
colouring which characterized the former century. This was owing to the
abandonment of the silver and gold “paillon” backgrounds, and to the
exclusive use of the brush alone in the enamels of this period.

The process of painting with a preparation of opaque enamel colours on a
gold ground direct, without previously using the heretofore black ground
for the purposes of getting the shadows, is ascribed to Toutin (1632).
This was the first step to the decadence of enamelling, as the system of
Toutin was restricted to the production of portraits in miniature, and
in course of time nothing else was done but miniatures. Many artists in
the period of this decadence executed good work, amongst which may be
mentioned the names of Gribelin, a fellow-worker with Toutin, Dubié,
Morlière of Orleans, and Vacquer of Blois. The latter were pupils of

Chartier, Petitot, and Bordier were three other noted miniature painters
on enamel. The latter two worked in conjunction, and lived for some
years in England, until the death of Charles I., when they returned to
the Court of Louis XIV., and there painted the portraits in miniature of
the principal people of the time.

The art of enamelling was carried on in Spain, in Italy, and in some
parts of Germany during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but not
to the same extent as in France. Such articles as crosses, crucifixes,
rosaries, pendants, ewers, medallions, perfume bottles, rings, badges,
small panels with figure subjects, and numerous small objects,
particularly in jewellery, were made in enamels in these centuries
throughout Europe.

[Illustration: Fig. 106.—Battersea Enamel. (S.K.M.)]

In the seventeenth century, in England, a good deal of enamelling was
done at Battersea, and at Bilston in Staffordshire. A kind of coarse
enamel was made in England at that time on cast iron and on brass. The
cavities were cast to receive the enamel. There are some candlesticks
and fire-dogs in existence that are made in this way.

Stephen T. Janssen had his enamel works at York House, Battersea, in the
years 1750-5. After this time the English practice of enamel-making died
out. Kensington and the British Museums contain many specimens of
Battersea enamel (Fig. 106). Snuff and tobacco boxes, scent-bottles,
candlesticks, small dishes, crests, labels of wine-bottles, and
miniatures are the principal articles of Battersea enamel. The
decorations are chiefly small flowers and ornament on light-coloured or
white grounds enclosing pastoral subjects. Some have prints of
calendars, and other black and white subjects, printed by transferring.
In the British Museum there are two large oval medallions with the
portraits of George III. and Queen Charlotte, painted by the English
enameller W. H. Craft.


China, India, and Persia have been famed from early times for their
exquisite productions in enamels. Japan also has made, and continues to
make, enamels of great beauty. The older or Cloisonné method is mostly
in favour with the natives of the East, and very little Champlevé work
is executed. Although enamelling is an old art in China, yet Chinese
enamels are rare that have been executed before the fifteenth century.
In the Ming dynasty, under the Emperor King-tai (1450-7), enamel working
was in its highest state of excellence.

The designs on the enamelled vases are pretty much the same as on all
their other works, such as textiles, embroideries, and porcelain. In
fact, a Chinese enamelled vase is as a rule very similar in shape,
colour, and decoration to a porcelain one of the same country, and
sometimes the likeness is so great as to demand a close inspection to
determine which is enamel and which porcelain.

The Chinese used as a rule light colours in their enamel grounds: light
turquoise blue, light olive green, or a bright yellow ground; the latter
colour was mostly used in the painted enamels of the Thsing dynasty,
yellow being the national colour of this dynasty. The general type of
the design is made up of such things as a very crooked tree or branch,
decorated with large clusters of flowers and foliage, slightly
conventional in drawing; sometimes with birds and butterflies, or with
dragons; some vases have one large dragon occupying the greater part of
the field.

The colouring is generally very bright, the ground light and brilliant;
the flowers may be red, deep blue, pansy-violet, golden yellow, or
white. The foliage is usually of a crude emerald green type. Borders of
conventional cloud forms or other geometric forms surround the panels,
or form belts to the fields of the ornamental compositions.

Religious vases, altar furniture, perfume-burners, candlesticks, lamps,
screens, and table-tops are some of the articles in Chinese enamels made
invariably in the Cloisonné manner.

The Chinese also make a species of enamel that has no metal foundation,
which consists of a cloisonnage of network in which the enamel is
skilfully fused between the divisions, and is of a semi-translucent

Japanese enamels are more modern than the Chinese, old pieces of
Japanese being extremely rare. The enamels of Japan are darker in the
ground colour than the Chinese, being generally of a dark olive green,
or of a warm neutral grey tint. Some very large vases, braziers, and
large dishes are made by the Japanese. These wonderful people are
extremely clever in the use of the enamellers’ lamp and the blowpipe,
for the purpose of fusing the enamel in sections, as the large pieces
they made could not possibly be fired entire. The Chinese excel in the
painting of enamels, but the Japanese do not seem to cultivate this art
to any great extent.

Indian enamels are characterized by their extreme brilliance and
splendour of colouring, in which qualities they excel the enamels of all
other countries. The native enamellers work in the translucent,
Cloisonné, and Champlevé processes, and the methods and secrets of their
craft are kept in their families. Greens of the peacock and emerald
hues, coral and ruby reds, torquoise and sapphire blues are the
favourite Indian enamel colours.

[Illustration: Fig. 107.—Necklace; Punjaub. (B.)]

The celebrated Jaipur enamels are of the Champlevé kind. In Cashmere and
in the Punjaub jewellery is made of gemmed gold and enamels (Fig 107).
The Queen and the Prince of Wales possess many articles that are
masterpieces of Indian enamelling. The Haka stand lent by the Queen to
the Indian Museum is a splendid specimen of translucent painted enamel
in green and blue, of the Mongol period (Fig. 108).

[Illustration: Fig. 108.—Enamelled Haka Stand; Mongol Period. (B.)]

A large plate of Jaipur enamel, said to be the largest ever made, was
presented to the Prince of Wales. A unique and beautiful specimen of the
same kind of enamel is the Kalamdan, or pen-and-ink stand in the shape
of an Indian gondola (Fig. 109).

The stern is formed of a peacock’s head and body, the tail of which
decorates in brilliant enamels the underneath part of the boat.

[Illustration: Fig. 109.—Enamelled Pen-and-Ink Stand; Jaipur. (B.)]

The canopy of the ink receptacle has green, blue, coral, and ruby
enamels laid on a gold foundation.

The vase, or Sarai (Fig. 110) in possession of Lady Wyatt is a fine
example of Cashmere enamel, on which the shawl pattern may be seen.

[Illustration: Fig. 110.—Enamelled Sarai; Punjaub. (B.)]

A kind of enamel is made at Pertabghar in Rajputana, which consists in
covering a plate of burnished gold with a rich green enamel, and placing
on the surface while it is hot thin plates of gold ornaments, which are
fastened to the enamel by heat; afterwards these gold plates are
engraved elaborately with incised lines, so as to bring out the design.
Sometimes the enamel itself is engraved, and an easily fused gold
amalgam is rubbed into the incised lines, and fused to form the

Persian enamels are applied mostly to the heads of “Kalians,” or tobacco
water-pipes, jewellery, and coffee-cup holders. The foundations are gold
or copper. A large tray enamelled on copper on both sides is in the
Kensington Museum. It is decorated with flowers of various colours on a
white ground, and has an Armenian inscription with the date A.D. 1776,
and comes from Ispahan. In most Persian enamels the grounds are usually
of a white or light tint, with brightly coloured flowers as decoration.

                              CHAPTER III.
                            IVORY CARVINGS.

In the former part of this work we have noticed the ivory carvings of
the ancient world, and it is proposed in the following pages to give an
outline of ivory carvings of the Middle Ages and of the comparatively
modern periods.

One of the oldest and most important works in ivory carving of the sixth
century is the celebrated Chair of St. Maximinian, now preserved in the
metropolitan church of Ravenna. It is entirely overlaid with plates of
ivory, and has five upright panels in the front and below the seat which
are carved with figure subjects. The legs and back are overlaid with
ivory plates, carved with animals, foliage, and figures, and on the rail
in front of the seat is carved the Archbishop’s monogram. It is
altogether a very fine and rich piece of Romanesque work.

Very important works in ivory were executed in the time of the Roman
Empire, in the nature of “Consulare” diptychs and triptychs. These
Consular diptychs were originally made of wood or ivory, and were hinged
tablets that folded over each other, the outside surfaces being carved
elaborately, with a portrait or figure of the Consul or chief magistrate
of the province in the centre, the inside surfaces being used for
writing purposes. These consulares were also called “pugillares” from
being portable objects that could be carried conveniently in the hand or
_fist_. They were usually made as presents to be given to important
people of distant provinces, or to very intimate friends of the Consuls.
After the adoption of the Christian religion by the Roman Empire it was
the custom of the Consuls to send these consulares in the form of a
diptych or triptych, as a present to the bishop of a church in his
province, to show his patronage and goodwill, and they were usually
placed on the altar of the church, in order that the congregation should
see them and remember the giver in their prayers. This custom led to the
making of the diptychs (_two-leaved_) and the triptychs
(_three-leaved_), for the purpose of the altar decorations, and usually
on the plain inner leaves were inscribed the names of the newly baptized
(_neophytes_) Christians, benefactors to the church, dignitaries of the
same, and Christian martyrs. The use of these led to the later
magnificent painted and carved altars of the triptych order in Christian
churches. During the persecution by the iconoclastic Emperors of the
Eastern Empire a great number of these triptychs were made in wood and
in ivory of Greek workmanship, carved or painted on the interior faces
with representations of saints and sacred personages. These were used as
portable altars, and were carried about the person of those who used to
pray before them in secret. Many of them were also of a good size, and
became later important objects that were placed above or near the
“prie-dieus” in private rooms or chapels. The smaller pugillares, and
larger ecclesiastical diptychs were used in later times to form the
coverings of costly illuminated books, and it is owing to this use of
them that so many have been preserved to our day.

Byzantine sculpture and ivory carvings of the eleventh and twelfth
centuries were invested with the same severe and solemn character that
was the distinguishing feature of the ceiling and wall mosaics of the
same period. The figures were long and attenuated, the draperies very
stiff and angular and arranged in parallel folds, which, with the German
phase of Christian art, developed later into a still more angular and
rocky character. In France, on the other hand, in the thirteenth century
there arose a splendid and original school of sculpture, entirely
native, whose richest efforts culminated in such masterly achievements
as the figure sculpture of the cathedrals of Rheims, Chartres, and

[Illustration: Fig. 111.—Coronation of the Virgin; Ivory Carving
relieved with Colours and Gold; Thirteenth-Century French.

Small statuettes in ivory were made in great quantities in the Middle
Ages, and as an example of the French school of ivory carving of this
period there is an exceedingly fine representation of the “Coronation of
the Virgin” (Fig. 111) in the Louvre. In this work the figure of Christ
has the dress and lineaments of Philip III. (the Bold), the son of St.
Louis, and that of the Virgin is personified as Mary, his Queen,
daughter of Henry III. (the Debonnaire), Duke of Lorraine and Brabant.
This example dates from about 1274, and is certainly one of the most
perfectly finished works of French sculpture of that time.

[Illustration: Fig. 112.—Image Painter; Fifteenth Century.]

Colour and rich decoration were seen very much on the sculpture of the
Middle Ages, for we find traces of it in the mediæval tombs, effigies,
and all kinds of statuary.

Some of the ancient diptychs had both ground and figures coloured and
perhaps gilt. Coloured and gilded statues and reliefs were common in
Germany and France, and are so to-day in those of the Roman and Greek
Christian churches.

[Illustration: Fig. 113.—Leaf of a Roman Diptych. (S.K.M.)]

The dresses of the figures are semé (sown) all over with fleurs-de-lis
and very rich diapers in gold and silver, on rich red, blue, and white
grounds. Statuary painting was a profession in the Middle Ages. The
illustration (Fig. 112), from a French fifteenth-century manuscript,
shows an image painter at work.

Returning to the ivory plaques or diptychs, the illustration at Fig. 113
is that of the most perfect and most beautiful specimen of antique ivory
carving that we have any knowledge of. It is now in the Kensington
Museum, and represents the figure of a young girl, or Bacchante, with a
younger girl attending her. The figure has a well-designed arrangement
of drapery hanging in graceful folds. She stands at an altar, and is in
the act of making an offering. A vigorously carved oak-tree with acorns
and foliage occupies the left top of the panel, and a border of a Greek
character surrounds it. The corresponding half of this plaque is in the
Cluny Museum in Paris. It was found at the bottom of a well at
Montier-en-Der, and is much injured. The latter half shows the figure of
a female standing at an altar, and holding in her hands inverted flaming
torches. These famous plaques, which measure nearly 12 inches by 5, are
supposed to have formed the doors of a large shrine or _châsse_ that was
brought from Rome in the days of Childeric. They are supposed to be
Roman work of the sixth or seventh century, though some think the work
is earlier: they are undoubtedly executed by a Greek artist. There are
many specimens of consular diptychs in the museums of London, Liverpool,
and the Continent. The earliest dates from about A.D. 250, and the
latest about A.D. 540. The Roman Consuls continued for nearly one
thousand years: the last Consul of Constantinople was Basilius (A.D.
541), and the last Consul of Rome was Paulinus (A.D. 536).

There is a large plaque of ivory in the British Museum which measures 16
inches by nearly 6 inches in width—the largest known—on which is carved
the figure of an archangel holding in one hand a globe and in the other
a long staff. He stands on the top of a flight of steps under a round
arch supported by Corinthian pillars. Its date is uncertain, but is
probably of the seventh century; it is grandly designed and of excellent
workmanship (Fig. 114).

A work of the same or slightly earlier period is the beautiful ivory
vase (Fig. 115), which has well proportioned horizontal divisions and
well-designed ornamentation. The style of design suggests a copy from
metal work.

Triptychs, as we have seen, were used above and behind the altar tables,
and were at first portable, so that they could be carried away after the
service was ended; but later they became the “retables,” fixed altars,
or “reredoses,” and were carved or painted, or were partly executed in
both ways.

[Illustration: Fig. 114.—Ivory Carving with Archangel. (B.M.)]

[Illustration: Fig. 115.—Ivory Vase; Roman, Seventh Century. (B.M.)]

Many objects of secular art, and articles that the wealthy could afford
to use in every-day life, were made in ivory during the Middle Ages,
such as book-covers, toilet-combs, mirror-cases, chessmen, horns, hilts
of knives, swords, and daggers, caskets, small coffers, &c., in addition
to the objects required for use in religious ceremonies, as pyxes,
croziers, crucifixes, crosses, and taus, the latter being an early form
of the pastoral staff. The pastoral staffs of ivory are not very common,
and most examples known belong to the thirteenth century.

[Illustration: Fig. 116.—Pastoral Staff; German, Thirteenth Century.

The woodcut (Fig. 116) of the pastoral staff shows the subject of the
Crucifixion on one side and the Virgin and Child with attendant angels
on the other. It is German work of the thirteenth century, and is now in
the Cathedral of Metz.

An older specimen of the pastoral staff, which Mr. Maskell thinks is
English work, is carved in bone with interlacing scrolls, and has a
grotesque and serpent forming the crook decorations (Fig. 117).

[Illustration: Fig. 117.—Pastoral Staff; Bone Caning, English; Twelfth

In the fourteenth century ivory carvings were in great demand, judging
from the great number of the various ivories of that date which have
been preserved.

Belonging to this period are the beautiful ivory hunting horns called
“oliphants” (from elephant) that were much used by kings and nobles in
hunting, and were sometimes mounted in gold.

The ivory carvings known as pierced or “open-work” are usually of very
fine and delicate workmanship. The illustration (Fig. 118) shows two
compartments of a larger plaque in the Kensington Museum, the full size
of the originals that have sacred figures under Gothic canopies of
fourteenth-century work. It is not known exactly to what country they
belong, as ivory carvings as a rule are undated and unsigned, but the
woodcut (Fig. 119) represents an undoubted piece of English work. It is
one leaf of a diptych made for Grandison, Bishop of Exeter.

[Illustration: Fig. 118.—Ivory Carving; Fourteenth Century Pierced Work.

Few names of artists, as ivory carvers, have come down to us from the
Middle Ages. One named Jean Lebraellier was the carver to Charles V. of
France; Jehan Nicolle is another who has signed his name on an ivory pax
in the British Museum. Henry des Grès was a “pignier” or carver of combs
(1391). Héliot has dated work of 1392. Henry de Senlis, “tabletier,”
plaque carver of 1454, and Philip Daniel, “pignier” and “tabletier”
(1484), in Paris.

[Illustration: Fig. 119.—Ivory Diptych; English Work; Fourteenth
Century. (S.K.M.)]

The top of a Moorish casket from Spain, with Saracenic engraved ornament
of the eleventh century, is shown at Fig. 120, and a beautiful casket
from Italy, carved and engraved in bone, is illustrated at Fig. 121.
This is fourteenth-century work. Caskets and coffers made of slabs of
bone, carved and inlaid with figure subjects and armorial bearings, were
made extensively in Italy at this period, and used as marriage coffers.

[Illustration: Fig. 120.—Lid of Ivory Cabinet; Spanish; Eleventh
Century. (S.K.M.)]

Combs and mirror cases were naturally objects that received much
attention at the hands of the carver in ivory. A beautiful comb in the
British Museum (Fig. 122) belongs to the eleventh century, the central
scroll-work of which is very rich and ornate.

[Illustration: Fig. 121.—Coffer in Bone Carving and Engraved Work;
Italian; Fourteenth Century. (S.K.M.)]

Ceremonial combs, with finely carved ornamentation, have been found in
tombs of bishops, and many are preserved in churches that date from the
sixth to the fifteenth centuries. The mirror case, Fig. 123, is a
beautiful example of fourteenth-century work. It has the carved subject
of the “Siege of the Castle of Love”—a favourite subject for mirror case
decoration—and four lions forming the corners to the circular ring.

[Illustration: Fig. 122.—Ivory Comb; Eleventh Century.]

In reference to the ivory carver Héliot, mentioned above, Jacquemart
quotes—when speaking of his work, the oratory of carved ivory tablets in
the Cluny Museum that belonged to the Duchess of Burgundy—"Accounts of
Amiot Arnant from 1392 to 1393. Paid 500 livres to Berthelot Héliot,
‘varlet de chambre’ of the duke (Philip the Bold), for two large ivory
tablets with images, one of which is the ‘Passion of Our Lord,’ and the
other the ‘Life of Monsieur Saint Jean-Baptiste,’ which he has sold for
the Carthusians."

[Illustration: Fig. 123.—Ivory Mirror Case. (S.K.M.)]

Many celebrated artists have doubtless worked in ivory, but there is
nothing to prove this except the supposed hand-work of the artists.
Michelangelo is credited with working in ivory; Cellini, Donatello,
Agostino, Carracci, and other famous names in Italian art have been
mentioned as ivory carvers; and in the seventeenth century a celebrated
ivory carver named Copé, but better known as Fiamingo, who was Flemish
by birth. He made many basins, ewers, tankards, and carved figures of
children in bas-relief. Fiamingo worked and lived in Rome at the end of
the sixteenth and during the first ten years of the seventeenth
centuries. He died in 1610. His work, like that of many other artists of
this period, was greatly influenced by the style of Rubens, and a
strongly marked realism in the manner of treating allegorical subjects
was the prevailing taste in painting and carving. Very fine tankards in
ivory, and basins, were carved by Fiamingo with bacchanalian scenes in a
realistic manner. The tankard from the Jones Collection (Fig. 124) is
believed to be the work of Fiamingo. It is a Flemish ivory mounted in
silver-gilt work of good design. The body of the tankard is spiritedly
carved with the figures of a nymph and satyr dancing, Silenus, and some
children carrying grapes.

Another Flemish artist in ivory was Francis von Bossuit, who spent a
great part of his life in Rome, and whose figure carvings are of great
value. Alessandro Algardi was an Italian artist of the seventeenth
century, who carved the ivory bas-relief of St. Leo going out to meet
Attila, now in St. Peter’s at Rome, and also a very fine bust of Cosimo
II. de’ Medici. One of the best ivory carvers that ever lived was
François Duquesnoy, known better as François Flamand (1594-1644); he was
a native of Brussels, and went to Rome when a young man for the purpose
of study. He supported himself in his _wanderjahr_ period by carving
little figures in ivory and wood. In the Cluny Museum and in the Louvre
some groups, and bas-reliefs of females and children, may be seen,
executed by Flamand, that are full of roundness and life, boldly
conceived and extremely graceful.

[Illustration: Fig. 124.—Ivory Tankard, Silver-gilt Mounted; Flemish;
Seventeenth Century. (S.K.M.)]

We have noticed how plentiful the ivory carvings were of the fourteenth
century period; but at the end of that century ivory sculpture fell in
abeyance, which lasted during almost the whole of the fifteenth and
sixteenth centuries. This was due to the very great impulse given to
wood carving by the French, and even more so by the German wood
sculptors. Large wooden altar-pieces, or “retables,” came into fashion,
and also minute wooden portraits and statuettes, which for a long period
superseded ivory carvings; and in Germany a good deal of carving was
executed in “Speckstein” or Soapstone, a kind of drab-coloured
lithographic stone that was not difficult to work. Albert Dürer and
Lucas Cranach carved some very fine works in Speckstein. At the
beginning of the seventeenth century ivory carving became again in great

The Germans carried the arts of ivory and miniature wood carving, as
they did the larger style of wood carving, to great perfection; in fact
to an astonishing degree of dexterity, that would compare with Chinese
or Japanese carving, but lacking in the restrained artistic power of the
latter nation’s productions. All kinds of astonishing creations are
preserved in the museums of subjects such as little ivory carvings of
skeletons in company with groups of female figures, miniature
hunchbacks, and beggars with diamonds for buttons on their dresses. Leo
Pronner, of Nuremberg, carved on a cherry-stone a hundred heads, that
required the aid of a magnifying glass to see the expressions, and later
Simon Troger, of the same city, produced many marvels in ivory figures
with brown wood dresses and other accessories in wood.

Many good ivories have been the work of Spanish carvers, and as a rule
they are tinted or coloured.

Nearly all the carvings in ivory that we have noticed have been
statuettes, reliefs, or objects in which the human figure predominates.

As a matter of fact there are very few ivories of any artistic value in
which the human figure is not the most important part of the
composition, purely ornamental work being very rare. Even in Saracenic
work, where the figure and animal representations are not found, the
amount of carved ivory work is limited, and the specimens are very

[Illustration: Fig. 125.—Carved Ivory Panels of a Pulpit Door;
Saracenic. (S.K.M.)]

In an ancient Coptic church in Cairo there is a massive partition or
screen of ebony, in which is a central door and two side panels. This
screen has a rich display of inlaid ivory carved with arabesques, and
has ivory crosses in high relief. The screen is believed by Mr.
Butler—the author of “The Ancient Coptic Churches of Egypt”—to be a work
of the tenth century, and also to be the model on which the ivory
carving of the mosques was founded.

The ivory carvings in Saracenic work are usually found as carved or
chased panels, with arabesque designs, and surrounded with geometric
linear framing (Fig. 125).

The best of this type of work was executed in the fourteenth century.
Objects made of ivory alone are very rare in Saracenic art. The
illustration given of an ivory ink-horn is unique in this material, but
ink-horns of the same shape are common that have been made in copper and

Figure and animal carvings of Saracenic or Moorish design have been made
in Spain, and in some other countries under the rule of the Saracens,
but are not found in the Egyptian Saracenic.

China has always been prolific in the production of ivory carvings.
There are numerous statuettes of Confucius, Cheoü-lao, the god of old
age, of the Buddhist female divinity Kouan-in, and of other divinities.
Necklaces, pierced plaques for waist-belt decoration, and the _su-chus_
or rosaries, all are carved with a certain archaic quality and
quaintness, but of a minute and unsurpassed dexterity of workmanship.

The Chinese ivory fans of pierced work are beautiful and as delicate as
lace-work. Examples of these are very common.

[Illustration: Fig. 126.—Ivory Ink-Horn; Saracenic. (S.K.M.)]

The pen-cases called _pitongs_ are beautiful objects, carved with
dragons, flowers, and quaint figures in toy-like houses and gardens.

The “puzzle balls” are amongst the most wonderful of the Chinese
carvings in ivory, where quite a number of loose balls of lessening
sizes are contained within each other, and are all carved out of a solid
ball of ivory. The outer surfaces of each ball are also carved with
elaborate ornamentation. The method of cutting out these balls consists
in boring a number of holes at regulated distances on the surface to a
measured depth of the thickness of each outer shell, and then to cut
around the circumference of each hole with a steel tool made with a bent
end to suit the concentric curve of the sphere, and turned until each
shell is freed from its next smaller ball. The Chinese puzzle balls are
not very perfect examples of accurate turning, as the ornamentation
conceals the rough workmanship in a great degree, but still they are
marvels of skill and patience.

The Japanese carvings in ivory are better in an artistic sense than the
Chinese, and exhibit the same surprising beauty of finish and minuteness
of detail. All kinds of little cases for pens, jewels, powders and
perfumes; little divinities, small caskets and cabinets put together
with plaques of slabs of carved ivory, gilt and coloured with lacquers,
and also encrusted with lapis-lazuli, mother-of-pearl, and precious
stones. There is also the most wonderful little ivory figure and groups
of animal carvings called _netsukes_. These in many instances are works
of the highest order. Many of them are meant as embodied jokes, puns, or
satires. Some consist of groups of real or sham cripples, beggars with
monkeys on their backs, wrestlers, boxers, all kinds of domestic scenes,
warriors on foot and on horseback; other subjects full of dignity and
grace, and animal groups carved as no other people in the world can do.
These netsukes are used not only as ornaments that are treasured for
their own sakes, but also as dress-fasteners and as articles of personal
adornment by the better classes in Japan.

Many other uses for ivory carvings are found by the Japanese, such as
handles of swords and daggers, and some of their beautiful lacquered
panels have encrusted eagles and other birds beautifully carved, and
perched on the branches of trees, the latter being made from
mother-of-pearl, and sometimes the flowers, foliage, and fruit of tinted
ivory minutely chased.

India is famed for its extremely elaborate ivory carvings. The
elaborated richness of Oriental ornament is seen in the ivory carvings
of India more than in almost any other material except the goldsmiths’
work; but this may be more excused in such precious materials as ivory,
gold, or hand-made laces, where it is quite legitimate to give to the
ornament that necessary character of elaborate detail which always adds
to the preciousness of the material.

Sometimes the carved ivory cabinets from India have Biblical subjects in
the panels, which proves them to be works made to the order of the
European missionaries, by native artists.

The ivory jewel casket with gold mountings (Fig. 127) is thoroughly
Hindu in design and execution. Deified females with outstretched arms
form a natural palanquin for the seated figure of an Indian divinity;
other figures act as palanquin bearers, and the intervening spaces are
richly filled with characteristic foliage and fruit.

[Illustration: Fig. 127.—Ivory Casket with Gold Clasp and Hinge; Indian.

Ivory carving is so extensively carried on throughout India that it
would be difficult to say in what part of the country it was not done.
In some districts ivory carving in certain articles is done to the
exclusion of others. Bison horn is carved at Ratnagiri.

Tortoiseshell is plentifully used for carving in Bombay. The Hindoos,
like the Chinese, carve fans in a wonderfully delicate manner. Ivory
bracelets, little elephants with all their trappings, tigers, oxen,
gondolas, fully-rigged ships, hunting scenes, gods and goddesses, &c.,
are all made in ivory throughout India.

                              CHAPTER IV.
                              METAL WORK.


The early Egyptian, Assyrian, Phœnician, and Primitive Grecian metal
work has been noticed under the historic sketch of the art of these
nations in the former volume.

We read in the Bible of the great magnificence of Solomon’s Temple,
especially in the extreme richness and wealth of the gold, silver, and
brazen vessels, utensils, and architectural decorations, in which the
precious metals were used in the solid or plated manner on capitals,
pillars, doors, seats, thrones, and on the decorations of the Ark; but
no remains of all this magnificence have survived the wrecks of time or
the greed and spoliation of the conquerors of Jerusalem.

The sculptured decorations of the Arch of Titus at Rome afford us the
only tangible testimony as to the kind or shapes of the tables, vessels,
and seven-branched candlesticks which were carried off by the Romans
after the sacking of Jerusalem, A.D. 73. The workmanship and design of
these objects were probably a mixture of Egyptian and Assyrian forms,
passing through the hands of the probable Phœnician artificers.

Some of the earliest goldsmiths’ work that possesses a real artistic
value consists of personal ornaments, such as wreaths, earrings,
brooches, and diadems of Etruscan workmanship. Much of this work was
made very thin, in plates or scales joined together, and was generally
designed for funeral uses. Articles of personal adornment were very rich
and beautifully made, having the usual character of Greek design (Figs.
128, 129).

[Illustration: Fig. 128.—Gold Brooch and Earrings set with Garnets;
Etruscan. (J.)]

[Illustration: Fig. 129.—Head of Bacchus, part of Necklace; Etruscan
Jewellery. (J.)]

[Illustration: Fig. 130.—Etruscan Bronze Vessel.]

The Etruscans were greatly skilled in the making of all kinds of gold,
silver, and bronze vessels, jewellery, cups, goblets, and articles of
domestic use (Fig. 130). A remarkable bronze of a monster or chimæra was
found at Arezzo, in Italy, in 1534, which no doubt was a representation
of an Etruscan deity (Fig. 131). The art of the Etruscans was strongly
imbued with a decided Oriental character of mysteriousness.

We have noticed before the gold and other metal work of primitive Greece
that was found by Dr. Schliemann at Mycenæ and on the site of ancient
Troy. Most of this work was in beaten and inlaid metals, but in later
periods the arts of soldering grains and plates of gold, and fine wire
drawing for delicate filigree work were well known. Minute grains of
gold that had the appearance of frosted work were in reality soldered to
the plate. Statues were made in gold, but more often were plated.
Chryselephantine statues were common in the best days of Greek art, as
those of Athene and Jupiter by Phidias, and the statue of Bacchus in his
temple at Athens.

Crœsus made offerings of gold and silver vessels to the shrine of
Delphi, and both he and Darius had images of their wives made in gold by
Greek artists. Very few examples of Greek goldsmiths’ art have come down
to us, for owing to the valuable nature of the material, nearly all such
work has been, in the course of time, pillaged and melted down by the
barbarians or conquerors, and it is only in a few isolated cases such
valuables have been preserved by being buried or hidden purposely in the
earth, and in late years have been brought to light. We are, therefore,
indebted to the ancient historians for most of our knowledge concerning
the goldsmithery of Greece and Rome.

Some very valuable finds have been brought to light, such as that of the
Hildesheim treasures (Fig. 132), and the articles of bronze found at
Herculaneum and Pompeii give a good idea of the richness and beauty of
the metal work of ancient Greece and Rome. The wine crater (Fig. 132) is
exceptionally beautiful in its delicate lines of arabesque tracery.

[Illustration: Fig. 131.—Bronze Chimæra at Florence.]

There are some valuable examples in silver of the period of the late
Roman Empire in the British Museum, which are the treasures of another
“find.” They consist of a bridal casket 22 by 17 inches, and 11 inches
in height; another round bridal casket; dishes on a low stand
(_Scutellæ_); oblong-shaped dishes or trays (_lances_); horse trappings
and ornaments (_Phaleræ_); seated figures representing Rome,
Constantinople, Alexandria, and Antioch; various vases and vessels for
holding perfumes and unguents. This treasure was discovered in the
vaults of a house in Rome in 1793, where it was supposed to have been
hidden from the barbarians who invaded and captured Rome in the sixth

[Illustration: Fig. 132.—Wine Crater in Silver; from the Hildesheim
Treasures. Antique Roman.]

The bridal caskets have the portraits of the bride and bridegroom in
hammered or repoussé work, and mythological marine subjects. The style
and execution is in the usual coarse manner that characterized the work
of the period of early Christian Art, with some of the antique
traditions still asserting their influence in the style of the design.

Tripods, candelabra, vases, bowls, caskets, spoons, besides articles of
personal adornment made in the precious metals, have been found in the
buried cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii, and in other places in Italy,
France, and Germany, of antique Roman design. (See Fig. 417 in the
previous volume of this work.)

The names of a few Greek and Roman goldsmiths occur in the writings of
Pausanias, Pliny, and Martial, one of the earliest of which is named
Mentor, who probably lived in a subsequent near period to Phidias.
Acragras and Mys were the names of two others of a little later time.
Stratonicus and Tauriscus are two others who lived in the third century
B.C. Antipater is mentioned as the name of a goldsmith by Pliny.

Pytheas was a famous worker in gold and silver, who engraved figure
compositions, and Posidanius of Ephesus excelled in hunting and racing
subjects. Praxiteles was a silversmith who executed animal
representations from the life, and “Alexander the coppersmith” is
mentioned in St. Paul’s Epistle to Timothy.

The metal work of the Byzantine period—from the fourth to the eleventh
century—is characterized by a subservience of the design to the material
employed; in other words, what was lacking in good drawing and modelling
was replaced by splendour and magnificence in the general effect.

The use of gold with enamels was a great feature in Byzantine art and
throughout the Middle Ages. When the great Church of Santa Sophia was
rebuilt by Justinian in the sixth century, the best artists were
employed to make the great altar screen, and to decorate the sanctuary
in resplendent works in gold, silver, and enamels. The altar was made in
marble plated with gold in which was set precious stones and crusted
enamels. It was supported by pillars thickly plated with gold. The
canopy or ciborium of the altar rested on four silver-gilt columns, and
this canopy was overlaid with plates of silver, on which were figures
wrought in niello work. The canopy had an orb surmounted by a cross made
of gold and inlaid with large precious stones. The screen in front of
the altar had its dado or lower part of gilt bronze, and the pillars and
architrave silver-plated. It had also statues and panels of silver, the
latter being engraved with figures of saints in niello work. The ambo or
pulpit had a canopy of plated gold set with precious stones. The
sanctuary of Santa Sophia contained forty thousand pounds weight of
silver, and the altar vessels were made of gold set with stones of the
greatest value.

The above description is given by Mr. J. Hungerford Pollen, in his
handbook of “Gold and Silver,” to whom we are indebted for many of the
illustrations and some interesting information on the subject of the
precious metals.

It will be seen from this that Justinian had established a great school
of goldsmiths and enamellers at Byzantium, and when Leo the Iconoclast
in the eighth century, and Theophilus in 832, finally drove out the
image-makers and many other goldsmiths from Constantinople—checking in a
great degree the art of the metal-worker in the Eastern Empire—they were
received with great welcome in Italy, Germany, and France, where they
followed the practice of their art under more favourable auspices.

Under Basil the Macedonian, who died in 886, the images were restored,
and a great encouragement given to all kinds of art; and during the
reign of Constantine, his grandson (912-959), Constantinople was again a
great art centre from which Italy and Germany procured their chief
artists. The celebrated Pala d’Oro, or Altar of St. Mark’s, Venice, and
the bronze gates of San Paolo, near Rome, were made in Constantinople.

The splendour and treasures of the imperial city remained intact until
its capture by the French and Venetians in 1204, when a general sacking
of nearly all of its treasures took place.

The Byzantine style of the scroll-work and acanthus was of the Greek
type, and was admirably suited to show to advantage the rich quality of
the precious metals, and a modified character of this leafage appears in
the Romanesque metal work. The vine-leaf, grapes, and twisting tendrils
were first used in a symbolic sense in the Byzantine style and
subsequently in the Romanesque. The acanthus and the vine are treated
very much alike in the conventional ornament of the latter style, which
is really a connecting-link between the Early Gothic foliage and the
Byzantine. This may be seen in the illustration (Fig. 133) of a portion
of the base of the great candlestick at Milan, a work of the twelfth

A celebrated “find,” known as the “treasure of Petrossa,” was brought to
light in 1837 by some peasants who were digging on the banks of Argish
River, a tributary of the Danube. It consists of vessels of pure gold,
vessels made of slices of garnet and other stones, a torque or collar of
gold, a great dish, and some brooches of a large size. They have all
been inlaid with precious stones, and have simple but well-designed
ornaments. The workmanship is Byzantine, or it may have been done by
Gothic artists after Byzantine models.

This treasure is now in the museum at Bucharest. The influence of the
Byzantine school of metal workers spread, not only over the continent of
Europe, but as far as England and Ireland; and many portable altars,
shrines, and reliquaries were made to order in Constantinople, or given
as presents to foreign churches.

During the seventh, eighth, and ninth centuries it was customary for
kings and queens to present votive crowns to their churches: these
crowns were treasured with other precious articles, and hung up in the

[Illustration: Fig. 133.—Base of Candlestick, Milan Cathedral. (P.)]

There is still preserved in the Cathedral at Monza the Iron Crown of the
Lombard kings. It was given to the cathedral by Theodolinda the Lombard
Queen in 616. The Iron Crown is so called from its having a thin band of
iron encrusted in the inside, said to have been made from a nail from
the Cross. It is really a band or collar of gold, studded with
tallow-cut precious stones.

St. Eloi, who rose from the rank of goldsmith to a bishop (588-659) made
crowns and other articles for church uses for the Church of St. Denis at

The bronze-gilt chair of St. Dagobert (Fig. 134) is ascribed to him. He
founded the Abbey of Solignac, near Limoges, where he established a
school of working goldsmiths, which supplied many important works for
various churches in France.

[Illustration: Fig. 134.—Chair of Dagobert; Seventh Century.]

In the year 1858 at Guarrazar, near Toledo, in Spain, another valuable
“find” was discovered, consisting of no less than eleven votive crowns
or diadems, with other valuables, all buried close to the surface of the
ground. The crowns are of pure gold, and are set with precious stones,
such as sapphires and pearls. The rest of the treasure consists of three
crosses, a large emerald stone, and several fragments of gold plates
with chains attached.

[Illustration: Fig. 135.—Votive Crown of King Suinthila; Seventh

The stones in these crowns, like those in the Charlemagne and Lombard
crowns, and other jewellery of the Middle Ages, were “tallow-cut,”
that is, they were polished in the round or oval shapes, without
facets, and were also known under the name of “_Cabochons_.” On one of
the crowns of the above treasure—which is now in the Cluny Museum—is
the name of “Beccesvinthus Rex” (A.D. 649-672), and another has the
letters forming the name of King Suinthila (A.D. 621-631) (Fig. 135).
Others of a smaller size were probably those of Spanish queens. The
design and work of the articles forming this treasure are in a kind of
Romanesque-Gothic. The crown of Charlemagne has already been described
under the head of enamels (see Fig. 96). The art of the goldsmith was
fostered to a great degree under the rule of Charlemagne. This
monarch’s great friend and adviser, the prelate Alcuin (735-804), was
the chief spirit of his times in founding monasteries, which were,
apart from their religious character, also great schools of art,
especially in metal working, where all such articles as were required
for church uses, as well as shields, swords, and jewellery for the
king and nobles, were also made. Charlemagne was buried with most of
his treasures about him, but his enamelled sword and crown are the
only objects which belonged to him that now remain, both of which are
at Vienna. Gold, silver, and bronze were worked in by Franks on the
Continent and by the Saxons in England as early as the fifth and sixth
centuries, many examples of which, consisting chiefly of articles of
personal adornment, are now in our museums. That the goldsmith’s art
was practised in England in the days of Alfred (871-900) we have
evidence in the famous ring belonging to this king which is described
on page 121.

[Illustration: Fig. 136.—Shrine of St. Patrick’s Bell. (S.)]

Another gold ring belonging to Ethelwulf, of the early ninth or eighth
century, the enamelled vase or situla found in Essex, the golden altar
of St. Ambrose at Milan, and the beautiful Irish chalice found at Ardagh
have been described in the chapter on enamels, all of which show
evidence of the great skill of the European goldsmiths from the seventh
to the tenth centuries.

[Illustration: Fig. 137.—The Tara Brooch. (S.)]

[Illustration: Fig. 138.—Tara Brooch (reverse). (S.)]

The tenth century was a barren one for Art in Europe, except in some of
the monasteries of France, Italy, and in Ireland. In the latter country
a great deal of good work was produced—in metals especially—in the ninth
and tenth centuries. The amount of personal ornaments, such as torques
or collars of gold, bracelets, brooches, belt-clasps, and croziers,
shrines for sacred bells, and covers for the Gospels, that were wrought
in gold, silver, or alloys must have been prodigious. The astonishing
delicacy and intricacy of the Celtic ornamentation bear eloquent
testimony to the great skill of the early Irish artists.

[Illustration: Fig. 139.—Irish “Trumpet Pattern.”]

The shrine of St. Patrick’s bell, or the bell of Armagh, is a splendid
specimen of Irish art (Fig. 136). It forms the cover of the ancient
square-mouthed iron bell that formerly belonged to the patron saint of
Ireland, and is plated with silver-gilt ornamentation and gold filigree
work in both high and low relief. The ornamentation is composed of
twisted and interlacing scrolls and knot-work, with some elongated
animal forms in the composition. It has crystals and coloured gems set
in the angles and other places. The large central stone is set in
imbricated work.

There are five of these bells in Ireland and two in Scotland, but none
of them are so fine as the St. Patrick bell. Another beautiful example
of Irish metal work is the Tara brooch (Figs. 137 and 138). It is made
of white metal, a hard bronze composed of tin and copper.

[Illustration: Fig. 140.—Cumdach or Case of Molaise’s Gospels. (S.)]

The gold and silver ornamentation on this brooch and on the Ardagh
chalice are of the same style of design and workmanship, which would
point out that these two fine examples of Irish art were made about the
same date, perhaps anterior to the tenth century. The “trumpet pattern,”
which is not found on Irish work after 1050, occurs on the reverse side
of the Tara brooch (Fig. 138). The ornamentation is of an extraordinary
beauty, both in variety of style and pattern and in the execution. It is
riveted or fastened with pins and held by means of slender bars to the

[Illustration: Fig. 141.—The Crozier of Clonmacnois. (S.)]

[Illustration: Fig. 142.—Irish Crozier of Bronze, Edinburgh Museum.

The _Cumdachs_ or book-cases used as covers for the books of the Gospels
were also important works of the Irish goldsmith’s art. The illustration
of the book-case or shrine for the cover of Molaise’s Gospels is a
unique example (Fig. 140). This cumdach is made of plates of bronze, and
on this foundation is riveted plates of silver with gilt patterns. In
the panels may be seen rude and quaint figures or symbols of the four
Evangelists, and in the centre is a cross in a circle. It dates from the
first quarter of the eleventh century, and is one of the oldest of these
Irish book shrines. Crosses and croziers were also made of bronze, with
gold and silver inlays or relief ornamentation.

The Cross of Cong, of the twelfth century, now in the museum of the
Royal Irish Academy, and the croziers of Lismore (end of eleventh
century) and that of Clonmacnois (Fig. 141) are the most important
examples of this kind of work, the latter being a very rich example. A
simpler Irish crozier in bronze (Fig. 142) is in the Edinburgh Museum.

                          SPANISH METAL WORK.

During the Arab rule in Spain metal work was an important branch of the
Moorish arts. The Arab rulers had in their train many accomplished
Eastern artists in metal work, and such objects as caskets, jewellery,
bracelets, rings, sword and dagger handles, and scabbards.

[Illustration: Fig. 143.—Sword of Boabdil, Madrid. (R.)]

[Illustration: Fig. 144.—Spanish Monstrance, 1537. (S.K.M.)]

The Moorish caskets are often made of wood, covered with silver or gold
plates, the ornamentation being similar to that of the ivory carvings.
The Arab or Saracenic metal work of Spain is executed in repoussé, or is
chiselled niello work, filigree, or enamelled, and the ornament is
usually mixed with the Arab laudatory inscriptions.

The treasure found at Guarrazar, already noticed, shows something of the
early metal work of the Spanish Visigoths.

Moorish arms, such as sword sheaths and hilts, are very artistic, as may
be seen in the illustration of the sword of Boabdil (Fig. 143), the last
of the Moorish kings. The hilt of this sword is made of solid gold, and
is enamelled in blue, white, and red. The axle is made of ivory, and is
elaborately carved.

Triptychs, altars, processional crosses, and other church furniture were
made in Spain in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, of Gothic

[Illustration: Fig. 145—Spanish Chalice. (R.)]

In the fifteenth century there was an astonishing quantity of
silversmiths’ work produced. This was owing to the discovery of America
and the consequent power and wealth of Spain at this time. The silver
throne of the King Don Martin de Aragon belongs to this period, which
still exists in the Cathedral of Barcelona. It is covered with a chased
ornamentation in the metal work, and has rich embroidered work of gold
and precious stones. Many silversmiths came from Italy, Germany,
Holland, and France at this period and settled in Spain owing to the
great demand for their services. Riaño gives the names of Enrique de
Arphe, Jacome Trezzo, Mateo Aleman, Hans Belta, and others who were
employed at this time, besides many Spanish goldsmiths.

[Illustration: Fig. 146.—Spanish Pax. (R.)]

[Illustration: Fig. 147.—Spanish Jewel; Seventeenth Century. (R.)]

A special feature of church furniture of this period in Spain was the
_Monstrance_, or _Custodia_, an object of architectural design made in
gold, silver, or bronze-gilt metals, which has a central part—the
_lumule_ or _viril_—generally made of rock-crystal, in which the
sacrament was exposed; sometimes a sun with rays is represented on the
monstrance, and usually it is surmounted by a cross in gold and set with
jewels (Fig. 144). The designs are in the Renaissance and sometimes in
the Gothic style, and they are often eight feet in height. Some of them
are carried in procession on Corpus Christi Days. Many works in gold and
silver are in Spain that have been made in Mexico, but of Spanish
design, in which forms of American flora and fauna are worked into the

A Spanish chalice of Gothic outlines with some Renaissance details is
shown at Fig. 145. A beautiful pax of Renaissance design in the
Kensington Museum is shown at Fig. 146.

The pendant jewel of the seventeenth century shows the beginnings of the
decadence in design (Fig. 147), and the silver dish (Fig. 148), though
very rich in effect, is a pronounced step in the direction of
unrestrained space-covering that characterizes the design of the late
seventeenth century in Spain as well as in other European countries.

[Illustration: Fig. 148.—Spanish Silver Dish; Seventeenth Century. (R.)]

[Illustration: Fig. 149.—Moorish Lamp, Bronze; Fourteenth Century. (R.)]

Bronze-casting was practised in Spain by the Moors as well as the
Spanish themselves. The Moorish hanging lamp (Fig. 149) is a beautiful
specimen of bronze-working in pierced open-work. It bears the date of
the Hegira, 705 (A.D. 1305). Important works in bronze of the
Renaissance period, such as candelabra, monstrances, &c., are still
preserved in many of the churches.

From the earliest historic times Spain has been celebrated for the
excellent quality of its iron and steel arms and armour. The Romans
patronised the Spanish armourers extensively for their swords and other
arms after the Carthaginian War. The best swords were made at Bilbilis
or Calatayud in Aragon, and were short and wide, with double edges—about
15 to 19 inches in length. A sickle-shaped sword was also made 22 inches
in length.

Toledo blades were proverbial for their excellent tempering, and were
famous as early as the days of the Romans. Seville was also noted for
the excellence of its steel blades, and the Arabs, as we have seen, were
highly skilled in metal working, and especially in the making of all
kinds of arms and armour, including its ornamentation.

The celebrated sword of Boabdil had a Toledo blade, and including the
hilt was 39 inches in length.

The Spanish warriors of the eleventh century had dresses, arms, and
armour not unlike the Normans, as represented on the Bayeux Tapestry,
which were in imitation of or borrowed from the military habits of the

The sword manufactory at Toledo was in its most flourishing state during
the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries; it was re-established in the last
century, and is in existence at the present day.

[Illustration: Fig. 150.—Spanish Rapiers. (S.K.M.)]

Two rapiers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries are represented
at Fig. 150.

Muskets, crossbows, saddles, coats of mail, knives, scissors, and many
other objects in steel have been made in Spain from the earliest
periods, and many Spanish goods in manufactured steel even at the
present day still preserve the Moorish forms.


In Italy during the eleventh century an endeavour was made to revive the
art of the goldsmith, and many objects of Byzantine workmanship were
brought from Constantinople, and also many articles for church uses were
made within the walls of the great Benedictine monasteries throughout
Italy. An important Romanesque example of metal work of the time of the
Emperor Henry II. (1003-24) is now in the Cluny Museum. It is a golden
altar front (Fig. 151) that was given by this Emperor to the cathedral
of Bâsle, and is nearly 6 feet in width. Figures of the Saviour, three
archangels, and a figure of St. Benedict, are in relief of beaten gold
and stand each under Romanesque arches.

In England we read of reliquaries being made in the eleventh century
having images of gold, the work of Richard, an abbot of St. Albans.
Brithnodus, an abbot of Ely, Leo, and Elsinus are names of others who
made reliquaries and objects in metal.

Hildesheim in Hanover was a centre of great activity in metal work in
the eleventh century, and in the Cathedral of Hildesheim there are
candlesticks, crucifixes, and chalices of this period.

At this time in Germany were made great coronas or crowns of light that
sometimes spanned the nave of the churches, like that made by Bishop
Bernaward (992-1022), and his successor Hezilo for the Cathedral of
Hildesheim, a cast of which is now in the Kensington Museum.

The twelfth century was very fertile in important works in gold, silver,
bronze, and copper. Metal work was carried to a high degree of elaborate
finish and intricacy of design.

[Illustration: Fig. 151.—Golden Altar Front; from Bâsle. Cluny Museum.
Eleventh Century.]

Some wonderful achievements in casting, plating, and gilding of metals
have been performed during this prolific period. The celebrated
Gloucester candlestick, now in the Kensington Museum, is a good example
of the elaborate style of the twelfth-century metal work (Fig. 152).
This is one of the most elaborate and intricate examples of
ornamentation that could well be seen in the metal work of any period.
Nothing could exceed the fanciful ingenuity of its design: it would,
perhaps, have been better if some parts of the design had been left
plainer, as a foil for the others. The material of its composition is a
kind of white bronze, with a good proportion of silver in the alloy.


  Fig. 152.—Gloucester Candlestick;
  Twelfth Century.

The churches of this century were, as a rule, furnished with large
standing candlesticks or coronas for holding lights, many of which were
of good design, were made of silver, and sometimes enamelled. The large
seven-branched candlestick of the Cathedral of Milan—before mentioned—is
an important work of this period, a copy of which is in the Kensington
Museum. The material is gilt bronze, and the candlestick is over 14 feet
in height; the design is extremely rich (Fig. 153), the base being
composed of four winged dragons with voluted tails; the spaces between
the dragons are filled with elaborate scroll-work, and symbolic subjects
fill the volutes (Fig. 154). The lower boss is richly ornamented, but
the other five are plain. Three pairs of graceful branches spring from
the central stem to hold the lights.

The whole design is a reminiscence of the Jewish seven-branched
candlestick. One smaller in size is in the Brunswick Cathedral, and
another one is at Essen.

Censers, reliquaries, and shrines were made at this period in the shape
of little churches (Fig. 155). The reliquaries contained the bones of
saints or other precious relics. Sometimes they were made in the form of
a human head, with a band or ribbon around it set with gems. This kind
of reliquary was called a “chef”; one of this description is in the
Cathedral at Bâsle.

[Illustration: Fig. 153—Seven-Branched Candlestick in Milan Cathedral.]

The bronze censer (Fig. 156) of the twelfth century is a good specimen
of the architectural design in the Romanesque metal work of this time.
The reliquaries are usually of copper-gilt and enamelled, or are
occasionally in gold. These objects have been noticed in the chapter on
enamels. The larger coffer-shaped ones with sloping roofs are called
_châsses_, some of which are six and seven feet in length. Most of them
are of copper-gilt and enamelled, and are German work, made for the most
part at Cologne and in the Rhenish Provinces, and were generally of
Romanesque or Gothic design even up to the sixteenth century.

[Illustration: Fig. 154.—Lower Boss of the Milan Candlestick; Twelfth

[Illustration: Fig. 155.—Shrine or Reliquary, Copper Gilt; Twelfth

The shrine of St. Sebaldus by Peter Vischer already mentioned is a
curious mixture of Gothic and Italian forms. The celebrated shrine or
silver reliquary of the Church of Orvieto is made to represent the
church itself; it is said to weigh 600 pounds, and is enriched with
panels of translucent enamel and small statuettes. It is the finest work
of the Italian goldsmith’s art of the fourteenth century, and was made
by Ugolino (1338), an artist of Siena. Heads of the croziers and
bishops’ pastoral staffs were often designed in elaborate architectural
compositions, and generally speaking Gothic ornamentation is enthralled
by architectural forms even to the smallest details when the plan of the
object to be decorated is architectural, which happens in most cases;
when, however, the plan is not so, the freedom and fancy of the designer
revelled in the beauty of the curving, twisting, foliage, and grotesque
work, as may be seen in the metal work of the eleventh and twelfth
centuries. The Gloucester and Milan candlesticks will afford examples of

In the twelfth century Limoges was very active in the making of articles
for secular purposes as well as for religious uses. Common jewellery of
enamelled bronze was exported to all parts, such as brooches or morses,
buckles, armour decoration, and monumental plates with effigies, one of
the latter being that of Aylmer de Valence in Westminster Abbey, made at
Limoges and brought to England.

The monastic establishments were the schools and workshops of all the
art produced in the Middle Ages, and not only splendid examples of metal
work, but manuscript illuminations, wood and stone carving, and many
other kinds of works were produced within their walls. After the
beginning of the thirteenth century the arts were passing into the hands
of the laymen, and artists were at the same time beginning to receive
greater encouragement from the patronage of wealthy persons.

[Illustration: Fig. 156.—Censer; Twelfth Century.]

Almost every kind of article was now made in gold, silver, and bronze,
such as cups, jugs, bowls, standing cups, mazer and wassail bowls,
articles for the table, such as salt-cellars, ewers, basins, and nefs,

[Illustration: Fig. 157.—Mazer Bowl; 1450; Ironmongers’ Hall.]

The _Nef_ was a kind of table ornament or sweetmeat dish in the form of
a fully-rigged ship, and was sometimes mounted on wheels: the modern
épergne corresponds to the nef. A _mazer_ bowl was so called because it
was made usually of maple wood—_masere_ being the old word for maple.

[Illustration: Fig. 158.—Hour-glass Salt, given 1493, at New College,

These bowls have usually a silver or gold rim, and were often lined with
silver, but the name is wrongly applied to bowls made entirely of metal,
as it sometimes is. Fig. 157 is an illustration of a mazer bowl of the
fifteenth century belonging to the Ironmongers’ Company of London.
Salt-cellars were also important table decorations. The salt was put on
the table in such a position as to mark the dividing line between the
guests of different rank. There is a salt in the form of a giant, a work
of the fifteenth century, at All Souls’ College, Oxford, and some other
salts of this period and earlier were often made in form of hour-glasses
(Fig. 158).

Very few specimens of household plate have come down to us from the
thirteenth or fourteenth centuries, although we have many records of the
great quantities of jewels and plate that belonged to the kings and
feudal lords.

Spoons and knives were made and used at a very early period of the
world’s history, but forks do not seem to have come into general use
until some time in the fourteenth century. Sacramental cups and
chalices, and all kinds of drinking cups, were made at this time. The
beautiful cup of Gothic design with translucent enamels, now in the
Kensington Museum, is probably a work of the fourteenth century, and of
Burgundian origin. (See Fig. 103.)

Three sacramental chalices are illustrated at Fig. 159, and belonging to
the fourteenth century, and two at Figs. 160 and 161, of the fifteenth
century, all of which are Gothic in design; two also are given of the
sixteenth century (Figs. 162 and 163), the latter being of Spanish
origin designed in the style of the Renaissance, which is interesting as
showing the development of the standing cup from the chalice, this
example being in the transitional stage.

[Illustration: Fig. 159.—Gothic Chalices; Fourteenth Century.]

The difference between the Gothic and Renaissance cups is very marked,
the foot of the former being either trefoil, or more often hexagonal in
plan (Fig. 164), with the distinctive central knot or boss on the plain
upright stem for grasping purposes, while the Renaissance cups are
usually round in the plan of the foot, or sometimes octagonal, and have
a horizontal character which is obtained by the use of mouldings cutting
the cup into parts. (See Spanish chalice, Fig. 163.)

[Illustration: Fig. 160.—Chalice; Fifteenth Century.]

[Illustration: Fig. 161.—Chalice; Fifteenth Century.]

This upright character of the Gothic cup is well emphasized in the
beautiful enamelled cup belonging to the corporation of King’s Lynn
(Fig. 166), and the horizontal features in the foot, stem, and bowl may
be seen in the standing cup of Renaissance design in the Corpus Christi
College, Cambridge (Fig. 165).

[Illustration: Fig. 162.—German Chalice, with Paten; 1520.]

[Illustration: Fig. 163.—Spanish Chalice; 1549.]

The base of the Gothic cup splays outwards from the knot downwards,
while the Renaissance base mouldings may be enclosed by a line of the
opposite curvature, forming a dome of a semicircular section; and lastly
the calyx of the bowl of the latter cups is always a richly ornamented
feature, in opposition to the plain or almost plain bowl and calyx of
the Gothic varieties. Many Gothic cups and hanaps show decided
architectural constructions, as may be noticed in some of the
illustrations, and some have quite a landscape treatment, as in the
curious gilt metal hanap (Fig. 167), which is probably of Nuremberg

[Illustration: Fig. 164.—English Chalice, Corpus Christi College,
Oxford; 1507. (C.)]

Clocks were also objects which received a pronounced architectural
treatment. A favourite design was a church tower, or a fortified tower,
embattled, and having a spreading base, in which were open archways.


  Fig. 165.—Standing Cup, Corpus
  Christi College, Cambridge;
  1599. (C.)


  Fig. 166.—Enamelled Cup at King’s
  Lynn; 1350. (C.)

The goldsmiths of Italy in the sixteenth century were painters and
architects as well, and a decided architectural construction is clearly
seen in most of the gold and silver-smithery of this period. The
monstrance (Fig. 168) is a good illustration of this, and another is the
pax (Fig. 169). The church altar furniture and silver plate of the
period also partook of the prevailing architectural features.

[Illustration: Fig. 167.—Hanap; German. (S.K.M.)]

Benvenuto Cellini (1500-71) is the greatest name among the many great
ones of the sixteenth century in the art of the goldsmith. Some of his
work has already been noticed in the chapter on enamels. Cellini
represents the art of the Italian goldsmith and enameller at its best
period. He was famous for his designs in jewellery, in which he set
precious stones in cartouche work combined with griffins, masks, and
well-modelled little figures (Fig. 170). Many cups made in lapis-lazuli,
sardonyx, and rock-crystal are attributed to him. He was also a
successful worker in bronze, the best of his works in this metal being
the statue group of Perseus and Medusa, and the colossal bas-relief of
the Nymph of Fontainebleau, copies of which may be seen in Kensington
Museum. A graphic and very interesting account of the casting of the
Perseus group is given in his autobiography. A fine shield in damascene
work by Cellini is in Windsor Castle. His smaller works in gold and
jewellery probably exist in greater numbers than can be verified owing
to the absence of his signature or other identifying marks. According to
his own account, when besieged with the Pope, Clement VII., in the
Castle of Angelo, by the Spanish, he unset the precious stones and
jewellery, and melted down at the command of the Pope about two
hundredweight of gold and silver crowns, tiaras, cups, and reliquaries
of ancient workmanship in order to convert them into money and medals as
required by the Pope. This gives us a good idea of how the fine
treasures of the Middle Ages must have been destroyed under similar
circumstances, and excites our wonder how any valuable piece of
goldsmith’s work has escaped the melting-pot, which was generally the
sequel to the pillaging of conquering troops or the exigencies of war.
Cellini’s visit to France and his work in that country gave a great
impulse to the style of the Renaissance, and his countryman, Primaticcio
the sculptor, spread the style still further in France.

[Illustration: Fig. 168.—Monstrance; Italian; Fifteenth Century.

Some names of Italian goldsmiths about or immediately after Cellini’s
time are—Luca Agnolo, Valerio Vicentino, Pilote, Piero di Mino, Vincenzo
Dati, Girolamo del Prato. The latter was a native of Lombardy. Benedict
Ramel, François Desjardins, Delahaie, and François Briot are names of
French goldsmiths of the sixteenth century. Many models of vases, ewers,
plates, cups, and tankards were made by Briot in pewter that are still
in existence. These pewter models were usually made by goldsmiths, no
doubt, as models for their gold and silver work, or in some cases were
casts taken from the finished works, and kept as mementos or as replicas
in design of their more costly works, and were also sold to those whose
means would not permit them to indulge in the more costly gold and
silver plate. Briot’s pewter models are among the best examples of
design and workmanship in metal of the sixteenth century.

In Germany the art of the metal worker flourished in the sixteenth
century in its greatest perfection at Nuremberg and Augsburg.

The German goldsmiths’ work, especially at the end of the century, was
almost identical with that of the Italian school. The similarity is seen
in the details of the ornamentation, the masks and figures; the
difference may be noted in the extraordinary development of the
cartouche and strap-work of the German work, more especially in that of
the Netherlands.

Many German artists of this time, who were chiefly engravers, designed
for the goldsmiths and produced engravings from which goldsmiths’ work
and enamel paintings on metal were executed.

[Illustration: Fig. 169.—Pax; Italian; Sixteenth Century. (S.K.M.)]

[Illustration: Fig. 170.—Pendant, attributed to Cellini, in the Library
at Paris.]

Virgil Solis, of Nuremberg, Theodor de Bry, of Liége, the
Collaerts—father and son—of Antwerp, are some of the principal engravers
who designed very largely for jewellery and other goldsmiths’ work.

These German engravers and designers of ornament went under the
designation of the “Little Masters,” but in point of fact some of their
work would compare favourably with the compositions of many of the
so-called “Great Masters.” Generally speaking, they were pupils or
followers of Albert Dürer.

As a designer and engraver of figure work, Hans Sebald Beham must be
placed first in the rank of the “Little Masters,” and for ornament
purely the name of Heinrich Aldegrever must head the list.

Albert Dürer, whose great name overshadows all German art, though he
tried his gifted hand at ornament, as in the car of the “Triumph” and in
the “Book of the Hours,” designed for the Emperor Maximilian, was not
altogether successful in the matter of ornament, for his work in this
line is much too loose and florid, with much unrestrained and
naturalistic flourishing.

Hans Burgkmair, of Nuremberg, his contemporary, was better at ornament
than Dürer, and was the chief artist of that great work, the “Triumph of
Maximilian,” in which he strove to unite the Gothic and the style of the
Renaissance. His work generally takes the form of elaborate heraldry.

Hans Holbein, as well as being a great painter, was also a famous
designer for goldsmiths’ work, and was a master in ornament, especially
in the application of the figure to ornamental purposes. He was in some
measure a pupil of Hans Burgkmair, and was thoroughly imbued with the
spirit of the Renaissance. Holbein the elder—his father—was a well-known
artist, who worked in the old German Gothic style.

The younger Holbein began his artistic career as a goldsmith, and his
designs of sword and dagger handles, in which the figure forms so
admirably follow the lines of the composition in a remarkable degree of
ornamental fitness, reveal his fine sense and feeling for ornament.

In Italy the sculptor, Luca Signorelli, employed the figure and animal
forms with an equal degree of skill, and with the same feeling for
ornament. Both artists thoroughly understood the correct laws of
ornamental composition, which was not by any means a universal gift with
the artists of the Renaissance period.

Holbein designed many cups, one of which was a rich example of a
standing cup and cover which was designed for Jane Seymour, one of the
wives of Henry VIII. of England. The drawing for this cup is preserved
in the British Museum.

During the sixteenth century the art of metal working in Germany,
especially at Nuremberg, Swabian Augsburg, and Lübeck, reached a high
state of perfection under the great patronage of wealthy families, such
as the Fugger family, of Augsburg, and others. Holbein, and other
German, Dutch, and Flemish artists, worked in England, and besides much
German and Flemish Renaissance work found its way into England, and
influenced in a great degree the style of the metal work of this

In addition to the gold and silver plate of the kings’ palaces and of
private families, corporations and colleges accumulated great quantities
of plate, and before banks were properly established, gold and silver
plate and jewellery were the chief store of wealth that could, when
necessary, be easily converted into money.

King Henry VII. had a service of plate valued at twenty thousand pounds.
This monarch employed the Italian sculptor and goldsmith, Torrigiano,
and other foreign artists.

Henry VIII. also employed many Italian and German artists and
goldsmiths, and it is believed that Cellini executed some of his finest
jewellery for this king.

Not only Henry VIII., but his great lords and ministers, had extensive
collections of plate. Cardinal Wolsey had a large safe or cupboard,
barred all round for protection, in which was displayed a goodly show of
gold cups and other sumptuous vessels for use at his table.

[Illustration: Fig. 171.—Apostle Spoons; 1566; at Corpus Christi
College, Cambridge. (C.)]

“Apostle spoons” were made at this and subsequent periods, and were so
called from their having little figures of the Apostles modelled on the
tops of the handles (Fig. 171).

[Illustration: Fig. 172—Silver-gilt German Cup; Sixteenth Century.]

The silver, gold, and bronze work in Queen Elizabeth’s time in England
was made in the style of the Renaissance, like that of Germany. Italian
and German work at this time was almost identical (Figs. 172 and 173);
and even when the Rococo decadence was prevalent in architecture, both
on the Continent and in England, goldsmiths’ work was the last industry
that fell under its influence, especially when we compare it with the
contemporary pottery, furniture, and other decorative art. Of course, at
the latter end of the seventeenth and during the eighteenth century, the
design in metal work in France, and also in England, was sacrificed to
display and ostentation; but at the same time a comparative purity of
style is seen in much of the plate made in the reigns of William and
Mary, James II., and Queen Anne, of English manufacture. The silver and
gold plate of the “Queen Anne” period (1702-14) is highly prized for its
beauty of design and massive character, some examples of which will be
noticed presently.

[Illustration: Fig. 173.—Bronze Candlestick; Italian; Sixteenth

In the metal work, especially in gold and silver of the seventeenth
century, towards the middle of the century a certain heaviness of design
gradually crept in; although a good deal of fine work was still produced
by the artists who belonged to the older schools, and, as a matter of
course, the best work belonged to the earlier part of the century.

A fine freedom of line and handling is seen in the Flemish salver (Fig.
174) of Renaissance design. The French example of a silver-gilt cup and
cover is unusually simple for French work of this century (Fig. 175),
and an English silver casket of the same date (Fig. 176) shows a
similarity of style: the serpent handles and covers are almost

About the middle of the seventeenth century silversmiths’ work in
Germany began to assume a bulbous or lobed character, and gradually
became more florid in design (Fig. 177). This bulbous or gadrooned work
was carried out to a greater degree in English work of this period, of
which the gold cup rat Exeter College (Fig. 178) is a good example. The
decoration of metal work in England at this time consisted of flowers
and foliage chased on the repoussé surfaces, and often large rich
acanthus-leaves were used, especially on the vases and silver furniture
of Charles II.’s time. The lobed panel work of Germany was developed in
England into lozenge and pine-shaped raised surfaces, and the details of
the French Louis Quatorze were added as decoration.

[Illustration: Fig. 174.—Flemish Salver; Seventeenth Century. (S.K.M.)]

Tankards were made in silver, or sometimes in pottery richly mounted in
silver or pewter. The tankard has a wide base, the body narrowing
towards the mouth, and has usually a cover (Fig. 179), while the beaker
or drinking cup is the reverse in shape—narrow in the base, and widening
towards the mouth, and is without a handle or cover.

[Illustration: Fig. 175.—Cup with Cover, Silver-gilt; French;
Seventeenth Century. (J.)]

The English silver tankards were straight-sided, with naturalistic
decoration. Modern tankards for beer-drinking uses are made in pewter or
Britannia metal.

[Illustration: Fig. 176.—Silver Casket; Seventeenth Century.]

[Illustration: Fig. 177.—Nuremberg Tankard.]

In the Rhine Provinces, in Germany, and in Switzerland stoneware
tankards with metal covers and mountings are still in use. Tankards in
the seventeenth century were made with pegs inserted in the sides at
regulated distances, so that each drinker might quaff his measured
portion when the vessel was handed round.

[Illustration: Fig. 178.—Cup of Gold, _circa_ 1660-70, at Exeter
College, Oxford. (C.)]

In the reign of James I. many sumptuous objects in services and toilet
furniture were made in gold and silver. The baronial halls in England
were extremely rich in large pieces of plate: huge salvers, vases,
basins, jugs, cups, toilet services, and even tables, chairs,
mirror-frames, and fire-dogs were made in silver.

[Illustration: Fig. 179.—English Tankard; Seventeenth Century.]

In France, during the reign of Louis XIV., similar gold and silver
vessels and sumptuous furniture were made in the rich and massive style
of the period. Balin and Delaunay are mentioned among others who were
skilful goldsmiths to that monarch, and who worked under the directions
of the chief painter and tapestry designer, Lebrun.

England not only made a good deal of this silver furniture, but also
imported it largely from France; most of it, however, was melted down to
pay for the wars of Charles I.

A few remaining examples are still at Knole Park, in Kent, consisting of
silver tables, mirror-frames, fire-dogs, &c. (Fig. 180). Similar objects
of this period are now at Windsor Castle (Fig. 181), of which copies in
electrotype are in the Kensington Museum.

Some of the gold plate preserved in the Tower of London with the regalia
is of this period.

After the date of 1660 gold and silver-smithery becomes fluted and less
florid in decoration, but some of it still keeps the gadrooned and
bulbous character.

[Illustration: Fig. 180.—Silver Fire-Dog at Knole Park.]

Towards the end of the century, in the time of William III., the
flutings were less in number, and consequently became larger in scale,
and in the early part of the eighteenth century the metal work in
England became plainer, depending more on the lines of its contour for
effect than on its decoration (Fig. 182). Mouldings were plainer, and
broad spaces of convex and concave shapes producing a massive and, in
many cases, an elegant appearance (Figs. 182, 183), which gave to the
Queen Anne plate a mark of great distinction.

[Illustration: Fig. 181.—Silver Table at Windsor Castle.]

About 1750 the forms in silver work partook, in many instances, of the
prevailing fashion in the chinaware of that date, though without the
extravagance in the decoration. From 1770, and for about ten years
later, the designs became more attenuated, and were peculiar in having
the dividing lines of the design composed of fillets of beads (Figs. 185
and 187). The beaded style of silversmiths’ work and in all metal work,
pottery, and furniture of this period was due to the development of
classic design that took place in France and in England consequent on
the discovery of the buried city of Pompeii in 1770.

The brothers Adam in England designed a good deal of silversmiths’ work,
of which the three illustrations given are examples of their style.
Light wreaths, medallions, fillets of beads, festoons, masks, feet and
legs of animals composed the decoration of the Adams’ style.

The brothers John and Robert Adam had travelled in Italy, and had
brought with them pronounced classic ideas which not only influenced
their own and other contemporary work in architecture and furniture
designs, but in silversmiths’ work also their influence was widely felt
(Fig. 188).

[Illustration: Fig. 182.—Wine Fountain; 1710. (C.)]

In France the classic ideas were also very prevalent about this period
in silversmiths’ work. The “Louis-Seize” candlestick (Fig. 189) is one
of a pair from the Jones Collection in the South Kensington Museum, and
is an admirable example of the style; though it is said to have been
made at Turin in Italy in 1783, it is certainly of French design. It has
the square base so peculiar to French work of this period, with the
wreaths and medallions so characteristic of the style in question, that
of Louis XVI.

[Illustration: Fig. 183.—Candelabrum, Haberdashers’ Hall, London. (C.)]

Another candlestick (Fig. 190) from the Jones Collection is probably
Italian in style and manufacture, and belongs to the early part of the
eighteenth century.

[Illustration: Fig. 184.—Eighteenth-Century Bowl. (S.K.M.)]

[Illustration: Fig. 185.—Tureen at Windsor Castle, 1773.]

[Illustration: Fig. 187.—Silver Vase; 1770.]

[Illustration: Fig. 186.—Chocolate Pot; 1777. (C.)]

[Illustration: Fig. 188.—Vase by Adam.]

At the time of the Revolution, and immediately after, the style of the
silver work deteriorated in France. Vast quantities of plate were seized
and sent off to the Mint by the Revolutionary army, and naturally an art
like the goldsmith’s, that ministered to the needs of luxury, was in
those times at a low ebb.

[Illustration: Fig. 189.—Candlestick, Silver-gilt; Louis Seize.

[Illustration: Fig. 190.—Candlestick, Silver-gilt; Italian; Eighteenth
Century. (S.K.M.)]

In England in the early part of the nineteenth century some good work
was executed from the designs of Flaxman and Stothard, chiefly in the
classic style; the Wellington Shield may be mentioned as an example; but
about the middle of this century gold and silver work was characterized
by even a greater degree of naturalism in design than that of the French
debased style from which it was copied. Nothing could exceed the
vulgarity and bad taste in the design of silversmiths’ work made about
fifty or forty years ago. All architectural principles that should guide
the design of relief modelling and construction were thrown to the
winds, and naturalism unnaturally applied and mixed in any heterogeneous
way was quite fashionable. For instance, we have huge épergnes where
stags and other animals from the Highlands of Scotland or the Welsh
mountains are decorating silver rock-work from which the tropical palms
of Africa are seen to grow out of their clefts, affording grateful shade
to the natives of the British moorland. The art of the silversmith in
England about this period had suffered more than any other artistic
industry, and in the matter of design it seemed to have reached the
twilight state of semi-insanity, and was utterly devoid of any artistic

A great improvement is, however, to be seen in the work of respectable
firms and in that of many private craftsmen of to-day, but many shop
windows are still filled with costly work in the precious metals that
are worthless from an artistic point of view.

                      NIELLO-WORK AND DAMASCENING.

Niello-work has been mentioned on a previous page. It was an important
branch of the goldsmith’s art, as well as that of damascening. From the
earliest times the nations of antiquity have engraved on metals and
filled up the lines or grooves of the engraving with a black species of
enamel composition—_niello_—or with other metals such as silver, gold,
and electrum; the latter process has been called _damascening_, from
Damascus, where gold and silver inlaid in iron or steel was practised in
the tenth and eleventh centuries.

It was a favourite method of decorating metals during the Middle Ages
throughout the countries of Persia, Syria, and in most European
countries, especially on such objects as arms, armour, and different
kinds of vessels.

[Illustration: Fig. 191.—Italian Damascene Work; Sixteenth Century.]

The celebrated Italian metal-worker, Maso Finiguerra, worked extensively
in niello, and to him is ascribed the discovery of the art of engraving
on copper and printing from the copper plate. He was a goldsmith and a
native of Florence, and was the pupil of Ghiberti and Masaccio. In the
year 1452 he made a pax, on the flat panel of which he engraved a design
to be filled in afterwards with the black composition of niello, but
before he had completely finished his work he took a “squeeze” in clay
of the engraving in order to judge of the progress he had made, and from
this squeeze he made a mould in sulphur, and filled it with a black
pigment, and on pressing this sulphur block on a sheet of damp paper the
pattern appeared similar to the niello effect. This led him to fill the
lines of the actual silver plate with a more durable ink, and to print
off impressions on paper. It was by thus experimenting that Finiguerra
discovered the art of engraving and printing from the metal plate. The
original pax with its impressions are preserved at Florence.

Damascening is executed in three ways. First, where the steel or copper
is engraved with an undercut line and a thread of gold or silver is
forced in by hammering or pressed by a burnisher into the grooved lines.
Second, the plated method, where the plate of metal to be encrusted is
enclosed between slightly raised walls in the foundation metal. Third,
where the foundation metal is roughened by a sharp tool in all
directions and the gold or silver is laid on thinly and pressed or
hammered in. The last method is the latest and least durable. Sometimes
the lines of the engraving are punched with holes at regulated
distances, which serve as keys to hold the inlaid metal when hammered

[Illustration: Fig. 192.—Shield Damascened in Gold; Indian. (B.)]

The famous bowl called the “Baptistery of St. Louis,” now in the Louvre,
is made of copper inlaid with figures of horsemen and hunting scenes. It
is an example of “Mosil work,” or Mesopotamian damascening, of the
thirteenth century, in which silver only is used as the inlaid metal.

A delicate design in Italian damascene work is shown at Fig. 191, and an
Indian example at Fig. 192. The Italian example shows the Arabian
influence in some of the details of the ornament. The Japanese are
perfect masters in the art of damascening. Sword-blades of the
thirteenth and later centuries have beautiful designs inlaid as
intaglios or in damascene work; sword-guards of the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries are remarkable for this kind of decoration, and for
the exquisite chasing of the iron, which in some cases is cut out like
fret-work, and in others are carved as delicate as decorative ivory


The jewellery of India is one of the most important art industries of
that country, and the trade of the gold and silver smith is an
established institution in every village and district. The variation in
style and method of fabrication has very marked features, according to
the fashion that finds favour in each locality. The extreme love for
trinkets of a brilliant and dazzling nature amongst all grades of the
people has in a great measure directed the fabrication of Indian
jewellery, which tends to make the most of the precious metals by using
them in thin plates or in a filigrain work, and in order to get the
flashing effect and rich colouring, scales or flakes of diamonds are
more often used than the more valuable and solid gems, and inferior
gems, or even coloured glass, are set to the best advantage, and used
indiscriminately: anything, in fact, is used in order to get the
gorgeous variety of brilliant colouring and dazzling effect. Much of the
Indian jewellery is of a flimsy character as regards its lightness and
thin nature of the material; but the latter is generally of the best
quality, and the artistic workmanship lavished on most of the jewellery
more than makes up for its want of inherent solidity.

[Illustration: Fig. Fig. 193.-Primitive Silver Bracelet: Dinajpur,
Bengal. (B.)]

Jewellery ought to be light in character and of good design and
workmanship if it is intended to fulfil its use in decorating the
person, as nothing is uglier than heavy jewellery, which can only be
valuable in the light of representing the wealth of the owner.

Some of the Indian jewellery is, however, fairly solid and heavy, as in
the chopped gold form of cubical, octahedron, and oblong shapes of the
metal which are strung on silk cord as necklaces, and the nail-head
variety of earrings made at Ahmedabad and Surat in Western India.

[Illustration: Fig. 194.—Silver Neck Ornament, from Sindh. (B.)]

Girdles, torques or neck collars, bracelets, and anklets are made of
twisted gold wire, which are common throughout India, and in the western
provinces are made in the twisted form of the Matheran knotted and woven
grass collars.

[Illustration: Fig. 195.—Native Silver Jewellery of Cuttack. (B.)]

[Illustration: Fig. 196.—Filigrain Jewellery of Cuttack. (B.)]

Some of the native jewellery in many parts of India still keeps its
primitive character and bears a great likeness to the very early Celtic
jewellery found in Ireland and in other countries of Europe, which would
probably suggest the same Celtic origin for all (Fig. 193).

[Illustration: Fig. 197.—Native Jewellery of Trichinopoly, Madras. (B.)]

The silver filigrain work of India, especially the designs of the Sindh
jewellery and that made at Cuttack, Trichinopoly, and Travancore,
recalls the methods of fabrication and design of the ancient Etruscan
jewellery. (See Figs. 194, 195, 197.)

A certain analogy may also be noticed in the native jewellery from the
above places to the Phœnician, primitive Grecian, and even Scandinavian,
which goes a long way to prove the intercourse between, and the
migrations of, the people of India, Thibet, Turkestan to Asia Minor and
the continent of Europe.

Some Indian jewellery, though possessing shapes common to other
countries, has very distinctive national characteristics in the
decoration, which may be seen in the illustration (Fig. 198) of the gold
plate from Bombay. In these cases the design is usually symbolical.

[Illustration: Fig. 198.—Native Gold Jewellery of Bombay. (B.)]

The Indian jewellers of the Mogul period have produced some exquisite
work in the setting of gems on jade carvings and on small vases of jade.

The deftness and cunning of the Indian jeweller may have been equalled
by the Etruscans and ancient Greeks, but he has not been surpassed in
his delicate workmanship by any nation of modern times.


Ornamental iron work was executed in France and in England before the
Roman occupation of these countries, but any early remains of this work
that have been found in either country are supposed to be of the Roman
period. The Romans were not skilled in the working of iron, although
well conversant with the manufacture of bronze objects.

Remains of iron hasps, escutcheons, window grilles, candlesticks,
folding chairs, &c., have been found in France and in England, of the
Romano-Gaulish and British periods, that have a great similarity of
style, and, indeed, up to the fifteenth century the style and design of
iron work in both countries were pretty much alike.

The most interesting examples of the blacksmith’s art of the Middle
Ages—in England especially—are the hinges to the church doors. The first
hinges were simple single straps of iron that passed from back to front
of the door, the socket being formed out of the solid piece at the angle
on one side. The front side of this strap by degrees was clawed out, or
otherwise elaborated, to cover as much of the door as possible, so as to
form an armour of defence against predatory robbers, such as the
barbarous Norse pirates who were continually invading the British

A favourite form of the hinge was the crescent shape; sometimes the
hinge branched out in a simple crescent with curved and bifurcated
endings that may have symbolized the snake or birds’ heads, and often
two or three of these crescents branched out from a central bar. Between
the hinges additional bars or straps were sometimes run across the door
to strengthen it, and elaborate foliated crosses often occupied the
central part, as in Fig. 199.

[Illustration: Fig. 199.—Hinges, &c., to Haddiscoe Church.]

On some of the old Norman doors, in addition to the hinges, as at
Stillingfleet Church, there are designs in iron work which consist of
mystical signs of Danish origin, such as a viking ship or sun ship, the
swastika or fylfot, moon signs, and rude images of the human figure.

The crescent hinge may have had a symbolical meaning, perhaps
Scandinavian, or it may have originated in the Saracenic crescent, and
may have been brought from Sicily, the birthplace of Norman

The art of the blacksmith in the Middle Ages was more developed in
France than in any other country of Europe, and the art of stamping the
leaves, stems, and rosettes with steel or chilled iron dies and punches
was practised there earlier than the thirteenth century, and at a period
a little later in England. The ornament was in style very little more
than the Romanesque type of the conventional vine, or other leaf of a
like nature—the cinquefoil, trefoil, rosettes, and scrolls, but these
few elements were used in the most effective manner (Fig. 200).

The magnificent hinges on the Porte Ste. Anne of Notre-Dame at Paris
show to perfection the French stamping on the leaves and other parts.
These unrivalled hinges (Fig. 201) are of the Early French style of the
thirteenth century. Nothing, however, is known of their origin, nor even
the name of the smith who forged them. Each hinge is composed of six
large scrolls springing from the central bar or stem, all of which are
richly clothed with spirals, foliage, birds, and dragons; the whole
design is supposed to represent the terrestrial Paradise.

Exceedingly rich, but not so elaborated as the hinges of the Church of
Notre-Dame, is the herse, or grille, of English work of the same period,
which surmounts the tomb of Queen Eleanor in Westminster Abbey (Fig.
202). This fine example of English smithery was made by Thomas de
Leghtone in the year 1294. It is a clever adaptation of hinge-work to
the design of a grille. Mr. Gardner supposes Leghtone to be connected
with Leighton Buzzard, as the same kind of iron work as the Eleanor
grille occurs in the hinges of the parish church door of that place, and
also from the fact that similar work is found on many other church doors
of the same period in Bedfordshire—at Eaton Bray and Turvey, for
instance; also at Norwich, Tunstall, Windsor, Lichfield, and Merton
College, Oxford, are examples of the same kind of work, which no doubt
was executed by Thomas de Leghtone and his assistants.

[Illustration: Fig. 200.—Press Door in the Church of St. Jacques, at
Liége. (G.)]

After the end of the thirteenth century examples are scarce of genuine
wrought-iron work, for the fashion changed at that time in the manner of
working the metal. Sheets and bars of iron were cut in the cold state
into various patterns by the use of chisels and files, the pieces being
fastened together by rivets and small collars or ties of metal. Much of
this work, was done in Italy, in imitation of marble and wood panelling,
and a very common method consisted in making the grilles in Italy of
riveted quatrefoils. A fine grille of this character is in the Church of
Santa Croce of the date of 1371. In the churches and palaces of Venice,
Florence, Verona, &c., there are many good examples of grilles that
resemble in a great degree joinery work in iron.

[Illustration: Fig. 201.—One of the Hinges to the Porte Ste. Anne of
Notre-Dame, Paris. (G.)]

[Illustration: Fig. 202.—Grille or Herse on Queen Eleanor’s Tomb,
Westminster Abbey; 1294. (G.)]

In Germany the love for iron work was not developed so early as it was
in France and England, and it was not until Gothic architecture took a
firm hold in that country in the end of the thirteenth century that the
first serious attempts were made in the use of decorative iron work,
and, like their architectural forms, the German wrought-iron work was
inspired by French examples.

German work in iron of the thirteenth century is very scarce: one of the
best-known examples occurs in the iron work on the doors of the Church
of St. Elizabeth at Marburg, near Cassel, which consists of branching
scroll-work clothed with vine-leaf endings.

In the fourteenth century the Germans developed the French vine-work
into lozenge-shaped leaves, and for a change interspersed them with
fleurs-de-lis, and occasionally some tracery patterns, all of which were
borrowed from the French. The stamped work of the English and French
blacksmith was not developed in Germany.

In the fifteenth century German iron work was greatly influenced by the
fine work which was being produced at this period in the Low Countries.
Brussels had been noted for its extensive works in iron and steel from
the fourteenth century. The brawny Flemish smiths were celebrated
throughout Europe for their great achievements in moulded and hammered
iron, such as in the spires of the cathedrals of Antwerp, Ghent, and
Bruges, well-covers, railings, fonts, cranes, and grilles. The
historical well-cover in front of the Cathedral of Antwerp has usually
been ascribed to Quentin Matsys the painter, but as he was only twelve
years old when this work was completed, it could hardly have been made
by his hands. The explanation is that he has been confounded with
another Quentin, a blacksmith and the son of Josse Matsys, the
architect, smith, and clockmaker of Antwerp. The well-cover is more
likely to have been the work of Josse Matsys. The design is Gothic in
feeling and is very picturesque with its interlacing stems and
vine-leaves, flowers, and figures. A rich font crane in iron work in the
Cathedral of Louvain is said to be the authentic work of Josse, and a
twelve-branched corona in the same church is ascribed to his son,
Quentin Matsys. To the hand of the latter is also ascribed the rich
Flemish gates of Bishop West’s Chapel in Ely Cathedral.

Brabant was celebrated for its iron work, particularly in pierced and
filed work in such things as locks, hinges, candelabra, tabernacles, and
_guichets_ (little windows or wicket gates), most of these objects
taking pronounced Gothic architectural forms, for the most part being
composed of flamboyant tracery and little buttresses (Fig. 203). Much of
the Brabaçon iron work found its way into England and Germany. This work
is characterised by its flamboyant tracery, which is found on locks of
doors and Flemish coffers, and in the design of the guichets, a fine
specimen of the latter now being in the Kensington Museum. The locks of
the doors in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor and in some other places are
of Brabaçon workmanship. This Flemish style of lock work was imitated
very much in England, but the workmanship was less refined although of a
stronger character than the Flemish.

The Germans, especially of Augsburg, Nuremberg, and in the Rhine
Provinces, more particularly at Cologne, developed the chiselled iron
work to an astonishing degree of elaboration.

While the shapes of the lock-plates were of a decided Saracenic
character, the design of the pattern ornamentation was either of an
elaborate architectural composition, as in the large lock in the
Klagenfurt Museum (Fig. 204), or of designs mainly developed from the

[Illustration: Fig. 203.—Tabernacle Grille from Ottoberg, Tyrol;
Fifteenth Century. (S.K.M.) (G.)]

The thistle was distinctly characteristic of German iron work, and also
the trellis-work pattern as seen on the doors of the fifteenth and
sixteenth centuries (Fig. 205). Armorial bearings fill the panels
between the trellis-bands, with richly forged rivets or nail-heads on
the lozenge intersections. Sometimes the decoration was gilt or
silvered, and the ground underneath painted red or black. In the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the iron work in Europe and England
partook of the character of the Renaissance, and towards the end of the
former century had all the foliated character of that style.

[Illustration: Fig. 204.—Lock, 18 inches high, in the Klagenfurt Museum;
German; Fifteenth Century. (G.)]

The illustration (Fig. 206) shows a typical example of French work of
the end of the sixteenth century.

[Illustration: Fig. 205.—Iron-bound Door in the Monastery of Krems; Late
Fifteenth Century. (G.)]

In Flanders, Holland, and in England, especially during the eighteenth
century, decorative iron work was again in great demand, and some
beautiful work in gates, grilles, and railings were executed. Among the
finest works of this period are the celebrated gates or screens designed
in the style of the Renaissance and made by Huntingdon Shaw for King
William III. for his palace at Hampton Court. These gates, which are
fine examples of hammered work, are now in the Kensington Museum. The
iron gates and railings made in the reign of Queen Anne and later were
often of beautiful design, in which the capabilities of the material
were excellently expressed. Some fine examples still exist in the gates
and railings of the old houses in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, and some good
ironwork of this type may be seen in the screens in St. Paul’s
Cathedral. This beautiful style died out during this century, when a
more extended use of cast iron crept in, and if we except the work of
the late Alfred Stevens and of a few other designers and architects,
there has been nothing of an artistic value that one can point out in
England in the domain of cast-iron productions. In fact, it is a curious
but common expression to say of a bad design for almost anything that it
“looks like cast iron.” Designers for cast-iron work might take some
good hints from the old Roman or Pompeian bronzes.

[Illustration: Fig. 206.—Mirror, Wrought Iron; French Work; Sixteenth

                               CHAPTER V.


The furniture of the antique nations has been noticed in some instances
in the former volume of this work, especially in the cases of Egyptian
and Assyrian examples, where fortunately we can point out the many
representations of it that occur on the bas-reliefs. It is from these
that we chiefly form an opinion as to how the palaces and interiors must
have been furnished, for, owing to the great lapse of time, nearly every
vestige of furniture of these old nations has passed away.

The British Museum and the Louvre contain a few Egyptian chairs or seats
that have been made in ebony and ivory, which owe their preservation to
the lasting nature of the material.

Two Egyptian chairs or thrones are illustrated at Figs. 146 and 147, in
the first part of this work, and a wooden coffer at Fig. 149. At Fig.
148 carpenters are represented as occupied in chair making, the feet and
legs of the chairs being designed from animals’ limbs, and the stools on
which the workmen are sitting are blocks of wood hollowed out at the
top. The Egyptian couch was of a straight-lined design in the body with
a curved head like an ordinary sofa, the legs, feet, and other salient
points being carved with heads, feet, and tails of animals. Some boxes
and coffers with gable tops dovetailed together, small toilet boxes
having carved or painted decoration, and mummy cases of cedar-wood
having elaborate hieroglyphic decorations, may be seen in the British
Museum and in the Louvre. Chariot and horse furniture are well
represented in the reliefs and wall paintings. Egypt was famed for
chariot building, and exported them in trade to the surrounding nations.
We read that King Solomon imported his war-chariots from Egypt.

[Illustration: Fig. 207.—Assyrian Throne.]

[Illustration: Fig. 208.—Assyrian Seat.]

If examples of Egyptian furniture are scarce, the furniture of Assyria
is practically non-existent, as the climate of the latter country was
not so dry or preservative as that of Egypt, so that all examples that
have not been wilfully destroyed have long ago perished. Many ornaments
of bronze and of ivory decorations have been discovered that have been
used as mountings to feet, ends or legs of seats, chairs, or thrones.
The bas-reliefs of the latter enable us to form a fairly accurate
judgment of the nature and style of Assyrian furniture, the decoration
of which was of a heavier and coarser character than that of the more
elegant Egyptian (Figs. 207 and 208). Forms and parts of animals were
used by the Assyrians and nearly all Oriental nations as furniture
decorations. The human figure was used also, but generally in the
representation of slaves or conquered peoples, who were degraded to the
position of bearing the weight of the seat or throne of the monarch (see
Persian throne, Fig. 256, first vol., from Persepolis, which was an
adaptation from an Assyrian throne). The Egyptian chairs had also carved
human figures as captives tied under the seat (Figs. 146, 147, first

[Illustration: Fig. 209.—Greek Chair.]

The furniture of the Hebrews was doubtless of the same kind as the
Assyrian. From the description of King Solomon’s throne it was
apparently similar to those of the Assyrian kings. It had lions for the
arm supports, and had six lions in gold and ivory on the six steps on
either side of the throne.

In the manufacture of the furniture of the nations of antiquity the
principal materials were—in woods, ebony, rosewood, walnut, pine, teak,
and, above all, cedar-wood; ivory, gold, silver, bronze, and electrum
were also much used for inlays and for solid mountings.

The furniture and the chariots of the Greeks in their early period were
simply copied from Egyptian and Asiatic sources, with less of the animal
forms and more of plant forms as decorative details (Figs. 209, 210).
Folding stools and chairs were made in wood and in metal, and the backs
of the chairs were upright, or nearly so couches resembling modern
sofas, elaborate footstools, and arm-chairs with sphinxes for the arms
were made by the Greeks (Figs. 210, 212).

[Illustration: Fig. 210.—Greek Folding Stools and Chairs, &c.]

[Illustration: Fig. 211.—Greek Chair.]

In the British Museum are some small models of Greek chairs made in
lead, and wooden boxes showing the dovetail construction.

In the later Greek periods the furniture was inlaid with ivory, ebony,
gold, and silver. Tripods were made of bronze, and had ornamented legs
in the shapes of the limbs of lions, leopards, and sphinxes. The Roman
bronze tripods were very similar to the Grecian ones in design, and were
not only used for sacred purposes in the temples, but also to support
braziers for heating purposes, or for burning perfumes in the houses of
private people (Fig. 213).

[Illustration: Fig. 212.—Greek Couches and Sofa.]

Hand-mirrors and _cistæ_ were made in great quantities in bronze or in
other metal alloys, in silver, and sometimes in gold. The mirrors were
polished on the face, and had often rich designs of figure subjects. The
Greek cistæ were cylindrical metal boxes that rested on feet designed
from those of various animals, having a lid or cover, with a handle or
knot usually of figure design, the whole surface of the body being
covered with engraved figure compositions and ornamental borders. They
were probably used to contain jewellery and trinkets. Some very fine
specimens of these hand-mirrors and cistæ may be seen in the British

[Illustration: Fig. 213.—Bronze Tripod, Greco-Roman.]

[Illustration: Fig. 214.—Folding Tripod, Roman.]

The furnishing of the houses of the Romans was very much of the same
character as that of the Greeks and Etruscans, from whom the Romans
inherited all their arts.

[Illustration: Fig. 215.—Roman Bronze Candelabra.]

The interior plan and aspects of the Roman houses were such as those of
Pompeii and Herculaneum, described in the first vol. Tables and tripods
of bronze or braziers were supported on three legs, some of which were
made with hinges for folding purposes (Fig. 214), and others were of
sphinx and animal forms of a rich design (Fig. 213). Lamp-stand designs
were quaint and elegant and were made in bronze (Fig. 215). Candelabra
of architectural design were carved in marble and were from six to ten
feet in height (Fig. 217).

[Illustration: Fig. 216.—Roman Tables.]

[Illustration: Fig. 217.—Marble Candelabrum, Roman.]

The Romans highly prized and paid good sums for tables that were made
from the pollard cross grain of different hard woods in which the knots
and grain showed to advantage, the beauty of the wood being brought out
by hand-polishing and by staining it with various coloured dyes.
Bird’s-eye maple and the wood of the _cedrus atlantica_ were much
prized. The smaller tables, _abaci_, rested usually on one
foot—_monopodium_—and larger tables had three or four legs, which had
ivory claws or heads of animals as carved decoration (Fig. 216).
Boxwood, beech, and palm, inlaid with ivory, ebony, and precious metals,
were used in the materials of chairs and couches. The latter were also
made in bronze (Fig. 218), and chairs of state were carved in marble,
one of this kind being in the Louvre, a cast of which is now in the
Kensington Museum (Fig. 219). The form of the Roman _curule_ chair was
like the letter X, and was so called because it could be folded and
carried easily in the _curules_ or chariots. It was used from the
earliest times of the Romans down to modern days in Italy, and was often
constructed of elephants’ tusks, wood, or metal, with ivory feet. The
curule chairs were carried about for outdoor use and for the theatre.
The _sella_ or _bisellium_, to seat two persons, was often a very ornate
kind of seat with turned legs similar to the couches (Fig. 220).

In the houses of the Romans a separate room or wardrobe was fitted up to
keep the dresses and clothes of the family; this room had cupboards with
doors and shelves, drawers, and lockers.

[Illustration: Fig. 218.—Couch in Bronze, Roman.]

Portable coffers and chests were used, in which they packed their
clothes and valuables when carrying them to and from their town and
country houses. The Roman furniture and wooden construction of their
houses were decorated with paintings and carvings of animals’ heads,
limbs, and feet, and with figures of heroes and masks, as well as with
the usual architectural acanthus foliage. Veneering of woods was an art
in which the Romans were skilled; both small and large designs or
pictures in tarsia work were the chief decorations of the best

[Illustration: Fig. 219.—Marble Chair, Roman.]

[Illustration: Fig. 220.—Roman Sella or Bisellium.]


The furniture, such as tables, chairs, beds, and the chariots, of the
Byzantine period, was like the architecture in having something of the
classic Roman mixture with some Asiatic Greek forms in its design.
Scarcely any remains of such are now in existence, although we have
evidence of the extreme richness of the sumptuary furniture and vessels
of the great houses and palaces of Constantinople, for owing to the
decadence and destruction of the Roman empire in the provinces, the
capital of the East became enriched by treasures of the old Roman
families, who naturally fled to Constantinople for protection for
themselves and their valuable effects.

The old ivories known as consular diptychs have different varieties of
seats, chairs, and footstools, on which the consuls are seated,
represented in the carving. Many originals of these and casts from
others may be seen in the Kensington Museum.

The chair of St. Maximian, preserved at Ravenna, is covered with ivory
carvings, and is one of the finest examples of Byzantine work. It is
described at page 138 and is figured in Labarte’s “Art of the Middle

Much of the furniture of the early centuries of Christian art is
represented in the Byzantine illuminated manuscripts. Beds and couches
kept the old Roman forms with the turned legs. Chariots must have been
used very much, as the old game of chariot racing was kept up by the
Byzantines. The Iconoclasts of the Eastern Empire under Leo the Isaurian
(A.D. 726)—whose injurious rule lasted about one hundred and twenty
years—were responsible for much destruction of sumptuary furniture, as
well as for other productions of an artistic nature, but at the same
time they were the indirect means of causing a new development in art in
the western parts of Europe, and more particularly in the Rhenish
Provinces, by driving the Byzantine artists and craftsmen to these
places, where they were welcomed by Charlemagne, and by his powerful
nobles and Churchmen. In the course of time they succeeded in founding
the school of art known as Rhenish-Byzantine. The finest illustrations
of this art are seen in the magnificent enamelled reliquaries or
shrines. The gilt-bronze chair of Dagobert is of Romanesque design, and
is one of the earliest pieces of furniture of the Middle Ages (see Fig.
134). Another mediæval chair or throne is high seated, and exceedingly
rich in design (Fig. 221). It is of Scandinavian origin, and is a good
example of the Romanesque style of Northern Europe. Many forms of the
Romanesque are seen in the furniture and carving of the Gothic style
that immediately succeeded the former.

During the Anglo-Saxon period in England the ordinary houses usually
consisted of one room. Sometimes a shed-like structure was erected
against the wall of the room to contain the bed of the mistress of the
house, and as a rule the inmates slept on a large table placed in the
centre of the room, or on benches on which bags of straw were placed.
Seats without backs, or stools, long settles or benches with backs and
carved ends or arms, were the chief articles in furniture.

After the Norman Conquest domestic improvements were multiplied, more
rooms were added to the houses, such as the solar or upper room, and the
parloir or talking-room, and some of the rooms had fireplaces, but not
chimneys. The principal room was the hall or assembly-room, which had a
fireplace in the centre, the smoke escaping through the lantern light in
the roof.

In the Norman times the principal additions to the furniture of English
manor-houses and castles were the cupboard, presses or armoires, and
chests. These pieces of furniture were introduced from France. Sometimes
the portable presses and the chests were painted with tempera
decorations, and were bound with wrought-iron clasps and hinges, which
were just beginning to come into use.

[Illustration: Fig. 221.—Scandinavian Seat or Throne of the Middle

The bed-clothes and personal clothing of the nobles and rich landowners
began to assume a rich character, and were often embroidered.

Tapestry and painted cloth hangings were imported; also pottery of an
ornamental description was not only imported, but made in England at
this time. All this applies to the homes of the rich only, for the
poorer classes remained for a long period in a very primitive condition
as regards their style of houses and their furniture.

[Illustration: Fig. 222.—Flemish; Sixteenth Century. (P.)]

[Illustration: Fig. 223.—German; Fifteenth Century. (P.)]

[Illustration: Fig. 224—English; Fifteenth Century. (P.)]

The construction of furniture and the panelling of chests began to
exhibit some workmanlike appearances of good carpentry. Panels were
placed in framework that was mortised and fastened with wooden pegs,
which became the universal method of panelling throughout the Gothic
period. Room panelling came into use in England in the early part of the
thirteenth century, when pine timber was used at first for this work,
but was displaced later by the more substantial oak. This oak panelling
during the Gothic periods was often carved with elaborate tracery of an
architectural character (Figs. 222, 223), and a common design was a
carved imitation of a carefully folded textile, known as the “linen
panel” (Fig. 224).

[Illustration: Fig. 225.—Dining Room; Fifteenth Century. (P.)]

Chests were used as tables, and the tops had inlaid checkers to be used
as chessboards. They were also used as sideboards on which to place
dishes of food, the dining-table being a board which was placed on
trestles, that could be removed and packed away when not required (Figs.
225, 226). A cross-legged chair and a three-legged stool is shown at
Fig. 228, which were common shapes in the fourteenth century. The
illustration, Fig. 227, is that of a bedroom of the same period, and is
taken from an English manuscript of the date of 1400. For these
illustrations, and many others on the subject of furniture, we are
indebted to the work of Mr. J. H. Pollen on “Furniture and Woodwork.”
The bed in the latter illustration has a flat canopy, or tester, with
embroidered hangings. The walls of the room are panelled, and the floor
is in checkered parquetry. There is a curious seat that is partly an
open press, with pottery, and metal vases placed as decoration on the

[Illustration: Fig. 226.—Dining Table on Trestles; Fourteenth Century.

[Illustration: Fig. 227.—Bedroom Interior; 1400. (P.)]

[Illustration: Fig. 228.—Seats; Fourteenth Century. (P.)]

[Illustration: Fig. 229.—The Coronation Chair, Westminster Abbey. (P.)]

Chests, trunks, or _bahuts_, were at this period, and in the time of the
Normans, the most important articles in furniture: they were often made
with inlaid wood decorations, and had strap-work of iron and ornate
hinges. They were the usual repositories of the household valuables,
money, and other treasures, and were carried on horses or mules when the
family moved about from place to place. By degrees the chest, with the
addition of a back and arms, became the settles or principal seats in
the living-room, and the back developed with an added hood or projecting
covering into the daïs, or throne-like seat, that was placed at the end
of the chief room—the place of honour.

Another and later development of the chest was to raise it on legs, and
to add a back arrangement to it, with shelves for the display of
household plate, to which was given the name of _dressoir_, or dresser,
the latter in time developing into the modern sideboard.

Chests were also important articles of church furniture, in which the
sacred vessels, treasures, books, and priests’ garments could be locked
up, and a particular form of chest kept in church vestries was the cope
chest, which took the semicircular shape of the copes when laid out flat
in these chests. Examples of these chests are still to be seen in some
of the large cathedrals.

[Illustration: Fig. 230.—Travelling Carriage; English; Fourteenth
Century. (P.)]

The coronation chair (Fig. 229) gives a good idea of a state chair of
the early Gothic period in England.

[Illustration: Fig. 231.—Travelling Carriage; English; Fourteenth
Century. (P.)]

Carriages of the fourteenth century were used for the conveyance of
women and children, but were not very common. They were long-shaped
covered vehicles on four wheels, with or without panelled sides, and
were painted and decorated (Figs. 230, 231). Carts for carrying and for
agricultural purposes were used in the Anglo-Saxon and Norman periods in
England, and in France at the same dates: these were two-wheeled
vehicles, each wheel being usually of one solid piece of wood.

[Illustration: Fig. 232.—Table (Kursy); Saracenic. (L. P.)]

The Saracens were very ingenious in the using of wood, as in carpentry,
carving, and turning in the lathe. Their ingenuity and skill in
carpentry and turning is seen in the Meshrebīya work and lattice, and in
the carvings of the pulpit and door panels. This work has been noticed
under the heading of Saracenic Architecture and Ornament in the former

Regarding the furniture of the domestic dwellings of the Saracens,
whether of Egypt, Arabia, or elsewhere, there was very little of a
movable nature except the small tables and reading-desks. The tables of
Saracenic design are usually small and of a greater height than width
(Fig. 232). These tables or _kursys_ are sometimes panelled with turned,
latticed, or carved decoration, having stalactites under the top, as in
the illustration, or in the kursys of a lighter construction are
generally inlaid with ivory, ebony, and mother-of-pearl. Some of the
richest variety are hexagonal in shape, are inlaid with brass and silver
filigree ornamentation, and are of splendid workmanship. The next
important article in movable furniture is the Saracen reading-desk,
which is made in the form of a camp-stool, with cross legs. It is
usually inlaid and decorated like the tables.

The divans are platforms raised slightly from the ground, and covered
with cushions on the seats and backs. The carved cupboards or shelves on
brackets placed behind and above the divans, on which vases and trays
are kept for ornament or when not in use, complete the usual furniture
of the Saracenic living-room. Seats or chairs of lattice-work
(_dikkas_), on which the doorkeeper sits, are usually found in
entrance-halls, and if we add the elaborate metal and coloured-glass
lamps, the vases, the large metal salvers or trays, and the rugs and
carpets, the furniture of a Saracenic house is complete.


In the early part of the fifteenth century and during the whole of the
century the furniture of Europe generally was designed more or less on
Gothic lines, but gradually the new forms that were now rapidly
developing in the architecture of the Renaissance, but in a slower
measure, began to assert themselves in furniture designs. Consequently,
we find in many articles, such as armoires or presses, and cabinets, a
mixture of style in the design—as, for instance, the upper panels would
be in the Mediæval, and the lower ones in the Renaissance style, or the
general construction would be Gothic, and the details and decoration
would be Italian.

This was more often the case in the furniture and other art in Germany,
where the Renaissance was tardily welcomed.

Styles of design in furniture overlap each other so much, especially in
the Renaissance period, that it becomes very difficult to assign a
correct date to many pieces of important work. Gothic designs continued
to be used during the sixteenth century, although the Renaissance had
been developing for a hundred years earlier. The most authentic means of
fixing the date is when certain work can be proved to have come from the
hand of a particular artist, or when there is a record of its having
been made for a king or some great person, for the style is not always a
sure proof of the correct date.

In the “Quattrocento” period (1400-1500), or fifteenth century, Italian
furniture made for churches, palaces, or private houses, was usually
decorated with paintings, sometimes on a gilt ground, which was prepared
in a gesso material before the gold was applied, some parts of which had
relief ornamentation.

Reliquaries, altar-fronts, panels of cabinets, chests, and marriage
coffers were decorated in this way.

[Illustration: Fig. 233.—Marriage Coffer of Carved Wood; Italian;
Sixteenth Century. (J.)]

The work known as “tarsia,” or certosina work, was made in great
perfection about this time in Italy. It is inlaid work of a geometric
character in design, or is composed of floral ornament, and sometimes
consists of representations of landscapes and buildings. This kind of
inlay was derived from Persian sources, was developed chiefly by the
Venetians, and was used mostly by them in the decoration of choir
stalls, tables, chairs, cabinets, &c. Ebony, ivory, and metals were also
employed in the Italian inlays of this period.

The Italian _Cassoni_, or marriage-coffers, were the most ornate and
most imposing articles of furniture of the fifteenth and sixteenth
centuries. They were placed in the long halls and corridors of the
palaces and great houses, and were usually given as presents to newly
married couples. They were generally used as the receptacle for the
bride’s trousseau and other treasures. In the latter century they were
carved in walnut with sculptural mythological subjects, and had endings
or corners of half-figures and half-foliage, as caryatids, with feet
designed from the claws of animals to raise them from the ground (Fig.
233). The carving was relieved by gilding in parts, and sometimes the
whole of it was gilt.

Other examples of an earlier date were covered with a finely modelled
decoration of gesso work, and gilded, and in other cases the large
panels in the front were painted with figure subjects in brilliant
colours and heightened with gold.

A less costly kind of marriage coffer was made in cypress-wood, and
fitted up in the inside with drawers, having the decoration on the
surface engraved or etched in brown lines, with the ground slightly
recessed and punched or stamped with a fine ornamentation.

[Illustration: Fig. 234.—Italian Work; Sixteenth Century. (P.)]

In the Kensington Museum there is an extensive collection of Italian
cassoni embracing all the above varieties. Chairs carved and gilt of the
same style and period as the coffers were usually placed between the
rows of the latter in the halls of the Italian palaces (Fig. 235). These
chairs had their backs and legs richly carved, each part being made out
of a single slab of wood.

The pair of bellows (Fig. 234) is a further illustration of the design
and excellence of workmanship as shown in the work of the wood carvers
of Italy in the sixteenth century, or “Cinquecento” period.

Another fine specimen of wood carving is the Italian stool (Fig. 236) of
the same date, which is remarkable for its delicacy of treatment.

Another form of chair of a rectangular character, with or without arms,
having an embossed leather or velvet covering on the back and seat, with
turned and carved legs and rails, was made in Italy about this time
(Fig. 237); it was much used subsequently in Spain, France, and in
England, and has continued to be in favour down to the present day.

Cabinets were made in Italy and in France in which slabs of beautifully
coloured and veined marbles and rare stones were inserted as panels in
various shapes, to which the name of “pietra-dura” work has been given.
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries painted plaques of porcelain
took the place of these marbles.

In England, France, Spain, and Germany, the great houses, both private
and religious, and the king’s palaces were elaborately furnished, and
kept in a state of great splendour.

[Illustration: Fig. 235.—Chair; Italian; Sixteenth Century. (P.)]

Churches were also furnished with elaborate stalls, pulpits, and rich
utensils, but in the latter the style of the designs was still Mediæval.

In the reigns of Henry VII. and Henry VIII. in England the style
gradually altered to the Italian forms of the Renaissance, and many
Italian architects and carvers found work in this country in making
furniture for the royal palaces, and besides, great quantities of
Italian, Flemish, and French furniture were largely imported. Jean de
Mabuse and Torrigiano were employed as architects and sculptors by Henry
VII., and Holbein and some Italian artists designed furniture and
goldsmith’s work for Henry VIII.

In France, during the reigns of François I., Catherine de’ Medici, and
Henri II., a great activity took place in architecture and in all the
industrial arts, in which that country not only imitated, but sought to
excel, the work of the Italian schools.

[Illustration: Fig. 236.—Stool of Carved Wood; Italian; Sixteenth
Century. (J.)]

As already mentioned, the French kings and Medicean princesses in the
sixteenth century had invited from Italy Cellini, Primaticcio, Il Rosso,
Serlio, and others, who succeeded in founding the style of the
Renaissance in France, and about the same time many French artists
journeyed to Italy to acquire the newer style which had been evolved
from the study of the old classic remains of that country. Among the
names of the principal French artists, sculptors, and carvers of this
period are those of Jean Goujon, Nicholas Bachelier of Toulouse, Jean
Cousin, Germain Pilon, Philibert de l’Orme, Du Cerceau, who published
designs for all kinds of decorations and carvings, and Hugues Sambin of
Dijon. Most of these men were architects and also designers of the heavy
and rich furniture that was characteristic of the French Renaissance.
Some of these artists and their works have been noticed in the chapters
on Renaissance architecture and metal work. The cabinet (Fig. 238) is a
good example of the architectonic style of French furniture of the
sixteenth century. French wood carving is distinguished from the Italian
of this period by the great use of the cartouche and strap-work (Fig.
239), which was so characteristic of the Henri-Deux style.

[Illustration: Fig. 237.—Chair Decorated with Gauffered Leather; Early
Sixteenth Century; Italian Style. (J.)]

[Illustration: Fig. 238.—French Cabinet; Sixteenth-Century Work. (P.)]

[Illustration: Fig. 239.—Carved Wood Panel; French; Sixteenth Century.

When the Renaissance had taken a firm root in Germany, the designers and
carvers of altar-pieces and of furniture generally proved themselves
thorough masters of the style, and were especially skilful in the
carving of wood, both on a gigantic and on a minute scale. Whole fronts
of houses were elaborately carved in designs consisting of figure work,
animals, ornament, and grotesques of a quaint and humorous description,
while exceedingly minute works of figure subjects and animals were
carved in box and other woods with a delicacy and quaintness often
excelling the ivory carvings of the Japanese. Escritoires, buffets,
cabinets, and other furniture, were made and exported from Germany into
Spain and other countries.

Flemish and English furniture and carving were pretty much alike in the
reigns of Elizabeth—the Tudor period of English art—and of James I., the
Stuart or Jacobean. The pieces of carved furniture, both Flemish and
English, were very solid and heavy both in the design and thickness of
the material, which was generally of oak or chestnut. So much Flemish
furniture was imported into England at this time, and the English-made
work, being so close in resemblance to the former, that a great
difficulty is experienced in classifying examples of this period. The
table, Fig. 240, and the so-called “Great Bed of Ware,” are examples of
the furniture of the Elizabethan period (Fig. 241.)

[Illustration: Fig. 240.—Elizabethan Table. (P.)]

In Spain the Italian style in furniture was introduced in the first
instance by the great importations from Italy and Germany, but under
such excellent native carvers and designers as Felipe de Borgoña
(sixteenth century), and Berruguete (1480-1561), the style of the
Renaissance soon spread from Toledo to Seville and Valladolid, where
great quantities of carved and inlaid work and elaborate altar-pieces
were executed during the prosperous Spanish period of the sixteenth

[Illustration: Fig. 241.—The Great Bed of Ware; Elizabethan. (P.)]

During the same century Venice and Florence were famed for their
marquetry—inlaid work of ivory and metal—in cypress, walnut, and other
woods, which art had been imported from Persia and India by the
Venetians, and which spread rapidly through Europe until the furniture
made with marquetry decoration by degrees supplanted the heavier
classical architectural designs.

This was brought about chiefly in the West of Europe by the Dutch and
French marquetry work, developed during the seventeenth century.

Before leaving the Italian sixteenth-century work we must notice the
mirrors, with their elaborately carved frames of Venetian design and
manufacture. In this century Venice was renowned for the making of
glass, for which it is still famous, and certain privileges were granted
by the State exclusively to Venetian manufacturers of looking-glasses.
Two Murano glass makers named Andrea and Dominico, who were the
inventors, were granted in the year 1507 the sole privilege of making
“mirrors of crystal glass” for a term of twenty years. Previous to this
time the mirrors were made of various polished metals. The frames of the
Venetian mirrors were often elaborately carved (Fig. 242), some of them
being made in designs that were strictly architectural in character,
representing a door, or window frame, with pilasters, frieze, and
cornice, and sill or plinth. These carved frames were often partly or
wholly gilt, and were exported in considerable quantities. Pictures were
framed in a similar way to the mirrors, and carved and gilt frames were
soon used all over Europe as picture frames. Later on gilt furniture of
all kinds was made in Venice and was in great favour in the other
countries of the Continent.

[Illustration: Fig. 242.—Venetian Minor Frame; Sixteenth Century. (P.)]

The manufacture of marquetry furniture by the Dutch in the seventeenth
century has been mentioned as having helped in a great measure to change
the style of furniture design from its former architectural character to
a greater simplicity of construction. Large panel surfaces were used for
the purpose of showing to greater advantage the rich and bright colours
of different kinds of hard woods used in the marquetry. Both natural and
stained varieties of various wood were arranged in the designs in
juxtaposition, and a free and picturesque kind of ornamental foliage was
employed mixed with large tulips, roses, and birds in the Dutch
marquetry decoration. Other materials, such as ivory, ebony, and
mother-of-pearl, were also used as inlays. In France a similar kind of
marquetry was developed, but the design consisted more of figure
subjects and imitations of ruins in landscapes. A complete change in the
design of the furniture in the latter country was also effected by the
same desire to get large surfaces on which the inlaid work could be seen
to great advantage, and the spaces were not divided by architectural
mouldings, or pilasters, as they had been in the preceding earlier work.

Towards the end of the sixteenth century, and during the earlier half of
the seventeenth, the sumptuous furniture, the beds, and general
furnishing of the better class of houses and palaces in France and other
European countries, were characterized by the use of costly silk
brocades, tissues, and embroidered coverings and hangings.

By thus seeking to give the furniture an appearance of the richest
possible kind, such articles as chairs, couches, and beds lost in a
corresponding degree their elegance and former constructive beauty.
Under their gorgeous Italian and Oriental velvet coverings, their framed
construction ceased to be visible. The above pieces of furniture still
retained their sumptuous upholstery during the reign of Louis XIV., but
the tables, armoires, cabinets, book-cases, pedestals, clock-stands and
cases, came under the influence of the architecture of the period, when
the king’s chief minister, Colbert, selected the best architects and
cabinet-makers of the day to design the furniture for the palaces of the
Tuileries, the Louvre, and Fontainebleau.

The greatest name connected with the design and manufacture of the
magnificent furniture of the Louis-Quatorze period is that of
André-Charles Boulle, whose work is known under his name as “Boulle.”
This celebrated furniture is an elaborate kind of marquetry of which the
materials are rare woods, ebony, tortoiseshell, brass, mother-of-pearl,
and white metal or tin. The mountings, mouldings, and other salient
points are made in brass beautifully chased and finished, some of the
mountings being in the forms of masks, foliage, cartouches, and animals’
heads and feet as termination.

André-Charles Boulle was born in Paris in the year 1642. His father,
Pierre Boulle, was also a distinguished _ébéniste_, or cabinet-maker,
but his more eminent son possessed the artistic gift in a much higher
degree. In addition to making his special marquetry from his own designs
Boulle also executed a good deal of his best works from the designs of
Jean Berain (1636-1711), his chief collaborateur. Berain’s designs were
more Italian in style, more symmetrical in the composition of the
ornament, and more correct from an architectural point of view, than
those attributed to Boulle himself, whose designs had much of the
looseness and freedom of the prevalent Louis Quatorze.

At the death of Jean Macé, the king’s ébéniste, in 1672, who had
formerly lived in the royal galleries of the Louvre, the _logement_ and
office of ébéniste to the king had become vacant, and Boulle on the
recommendation of Colbert, minister to Louis XIV., was appointed as the
successor of Macé, and was installed in his rooms in the Louvre in the
year 1673. He had previously executed some important work for the king,
and was known as the ablest ébéniste at that time in Paris.

The origin of the Boulle marquetry can be traced to the Indian, Persian,
and Damascus encrusted inlays in ivory, ebony, nacre, and metal, that
found their way to Venice, Portugal, Spain, and France in the Middle
Ages. These works consisted chiefly of caskets, coffers, and small
pieces of furniture. In the inventories of Charles V. of France (1380)
mention is made of lecterns and coffers of inlaid ivory or bone, in
ebony, and similar works are mentioned in the inventories of Charles VI.
(1418), and of Anne of Brittany (1498). These are the earliest notices
of marquetry furniture that was made in France, and was probably an
imitation of Oriental work.

In the Renaissance period François I. bought some magnificent furniture
of Indian workmanship, inlaid with mother-of-pearl, from Portuguese
merchants, and mention is made of chairs, tables, coffers, cabinets, and
mirror-frames that belonged to Queen Marie de’ Médicis (1600), the
Cardinal d’Amboise (1550), and other great persons of the French Court,
all of which works were made in marquetry.

In France before the sixteenth century, tortoiseshell, brass, tin, and
exotic woods were used as inlays, in addition to the ivory, ebony, and
nacre of the East. From this it will be seen that Boulle did not invent
the celebrated marquetry that bears his name. He, however, brought this
sumptuous form of cabinet work to great perfection, and under the
patronage of Louis XIV. he had every opportunity to develop his artistic
abilities to the utmost.

The method of procedure in the making of the Boulle marquetry was,
first, to prepare the veneers of wood, shell, tin, and brass of the same
thickness, each having perfectly plain surfaces; these veneers were then
glued together in pairs of opposite materials, according to the nature
of the effect required in the finished work, and were held together
firmly in a vice. The design was then traced on the surface of the upper
leaf, and the veneers were then cut through the lines of the pattern
with a burin, a sharp strong knife, or a fine saw; thus four pieces of
marquetry were made at one cutting. When the plaque forming the design
was composed of tin or brass, which was afterwards engraved or chased,
it was technically called “boulle”; and when the design was formed by
the shell or ebony it was called “counter”; the two effects are together
known as “boulle and counter,” or _première et contre-partie_.

A later kind of Boulle work, known as the Second Style, has the shell
veneers laid on a clouded vermilion or on a gilt ground.

Boulle was an artist of great excellence as a sculptor and chaser of
metals; his mountings of foliage and masks which decorated his works are
spirited in design and are skilfully chased and finished (Fig. 243). He
executed a great number of costly pieces of his famous marquetry for
Louis XIV. and the Dauphin of France, many of which found their way to
England a century later. Examples of Boulle work fetch great prices
when, as on rare occasions, they make their appearance in a sale. For
instance, two armoires, or large cabinets, were sold at the sale of the
Duke of Hamilton’s Collection in 1882 for the sum of £12,075. The
armoire (Fig. 244) now in the Jones Collection at South Kensington, is
perhaps the finest piece of Boulle furniture in England. It is much
finer and better designed than the Hamilton cabinets, and would
probably, if now sold, fetch the above sum, or more, that was paid for
these cabinets. It appears likely, from the style of the ornament, that
it was designed by Berain.

After the death of Boulle his four sons carried on the making of this
celebrated marquetry, but in a coarser and feebler style of design and
of inferior workmanship. Other ébénistes tried to imitate Boulle work,
but their efforts were not very successful, and were only inferior

In Germany in the seventeenth century, the most prominent names as
designers and makers of furniture are Philip Heinhofer, Baumgartner, and
Hans Schwanhard. The former was the maker of the celebrated Pomeranian
Cabinet (1611-1617) which is now in the Royal Museum at Berlin.

[Illustration: Fig. 243.—Boulle Cabinet. (S.K.M.)]

In this century, in Italy, Andrea Brustolone (1670-1732) was noted as a
carver, gilder, and cabinet-maker who worked in the extravagant style of
the Louis Quinze (Louis XV.), and in the first half of the eighteenth
century (1700-77) Pifetti, a Piedmontese cabinet-maker, was honoured by
the Italian Court, for which he executed many works in ivory carving and
marquetry work in the style of Boulle. Many other cabinet-makers and
carvers were employed to make furniture and to decorate the queen’s
palace at Turin, among whom may be mentioned the names of Galleti, the
successor of Pifetti, and Maggiolino of Milan, who chiefly made a kind
of marquetry in light woods. We are indebted to Mr. J. H. Pollen’s
handbook on furniture for some of these names, and a list of many others
will be found at the end of his useful book.

[Illustration: Fig. 244.—Boulle Cabinet or Armoire. (S.K.M.)]

The French architect, Le Pantre (1617-82), designed furniture and
decoration in the heavy classical style of the Roman antique, mixed with
shell-work, grotesques, and little Cupids or “putti,” and also engraved
and published a book of studies of Roman ornament from sketches that his
master, Adam Phillipon, had made in Italy. He worked with Le Brun, the
painter and director of the decoration at Versailles. Le Brun’s own work
was heavy and dull, although he aimed at grandeur and gorgeousness of
effect. He was director of the Gobelins tapestry manufactory, and his
style of work was in harmony with the pompous ideas of Louis the “Grand
Monarch.” Madame de Maintenon says in one of her letters to a friend,
that Louis was so fond of symmetry and stateliness in his architecture,
as in other things, that he would have you “perish in his symmetry,” for
he caused his doors and windows to be constructed in pairs opposite to
one another, which gave to everybody who lived in his palaces their
death of cold by draughts of air.

Much of the more artistic kind of furniture was imported from the
Continent into England during the seventeenth century, and a feature of
this period was the highly decorative silver furniture already noticed
in the chapter on metal work.

[Illustration: Fig. 245.—Carved Bracket; English; Eighteenth Century.

In this century and early in the following one, the art of wood carving
was greatly developed in England, chiefly owing to the genius of
Grinling Gibbons and to the influence of Sir Christopher Wren, the style
developed being a more or less realistic or baroque form of the
Renaissance (Figs. 245, 246). Gibbons carried out some of his carvings
to an astonishing degree of realism: bouquets of flowers, festoons of
fruit and flowers, birds, figures, and drapery were executed by him in
the highest possible relief, which looked detached from the ground, and
yet they usually formed a part of the solid wood with the background.
Ornament was carved with a singular crispness, and apparently without
any hesitation on the part of the carver. Though we may condemn the
florid looseness of the style of Gibbons, we must admire the dexterity
of workmanship and general technical excellence imparted to everything
he touched. Some of his best work may still be seen at Chatsworth,
Petworth House in Sussex, Lyme Hall in Cheshire, St. Paul’s Cathedral,
and Trinity College Chapel at Oxford. Many of the old English halls and
manor houses also contain examples of carving done either by Gibbons or
his pupils and immediate successors, namely, Watson, Drevot, and

[Illustration: Fig. 246.—Mirror Frame; Seventeenth Century. (P.)]

Under the Regency of Philippe d’Orléans in France (1715-1723) decoration
and ornament assumed a light and fanciful character, very naturalistic,
but still having some classic details; of this style Claude Gillot is
the chief exponent. Watteau, his pupil, made a great name as a painter
of pastoral scenes, _fêtes galantes_, and all kinds of light and
daintily-treated subjects of a theatrical and artificial kind of
composition. His colour was silvery and harmonious, and sometimes he
decorated furniture with pastoral scenes.

[Illustration: Fig. 247.—Holy Water Vessel; English; Seventeenth
Century. (P.)]

The Rococo style had begun under the Regency, if not earlier, and such
men as Oppenort, the De Cottes, father and son, François de Cuvilliés,
the Italians Bernini and Borromini, and lastly the great apostle of the
Rococo, Meissonier, were all designers of furniture or architects who
belonged to the period of Louis XV., and who executed works that
reflected the loose and unrestrained character of the times (1723-1774).
Chinese and naturalistic elements were grafted on, or mixed with, the
former Louis Quatorze, with an addition of still life that did duty for
architectural form in objects of pottery and metal work, and a
combination of shell work; all these elements made up the style known
under the different names of _rococo_, _rocaille_, _baroque_, or Louis

Furniture was made with curved and swelling panels to show to more
advantage the marquetry, or paintings on gold grounds: these kinds of
panels and friezes were known as “bombé.”

It is said that the Italian architects, Bernini and Borromini, were the
first to introduce the rococo style into France, but no designer went so
far in the wildness of its vagaries as the French Meissonier. His
ornament furnishes a perfect example of the want of balance and
symmetry. He designed for furniture, woodwork, silver-smithery, and
modelled decoration, all of which work illustrated the broken
shell-shaped panels with frilled and scalloped edgings and curved

Rooms were lined with looking-glasses having these rocaille mouldings,
which were well adapted to show to the best advantage the glitter of the
gold leaf that was used inordinately on the furniture and decoration of
the Louis-Quinze period.

Pierre Germain, Jean Restout, and Jean Pillement are well-known names of
other designers of the rocaille style.

Painted panels of pastoral scenes and flower groups were the usual
colour decorations of ceilings, furniture, carriages, and a host of
minor articles such as fans, étuis, snuff-boxes, &c. The latter smaller
articles, as well as the state carriages, were decorated with paintings
in what was known as the _Vernis-Martin_ style. Martin was a decorator
of carriages and an heraldic painter, who invented the particular hard
varnish or lacquer which bears his name. It was quite likely that this
was as near as possible a successful imitation of the Japanese gold
lacquer that decorated the articles which were at this period imported
from Japan by the Dutch and Portuguese traders into Europe. Carriages,
tables, cabinets, and especially smaller articles like snuff-boxes and
needle-cases, were painted and decorated in “Vernis-Martin.” Some of the
smaller objects were beautifully mounted in chased gold.

[Illustration: Fig. 248.—Commode, with Lac Panels, and Mounts by
Caffieri. Louis-Quinze Style.]

It was quite a common practice to cover or to panel furniture with
plaques of Japanese lacquer, and to mount them in chased metal or
ormoulu decorations. A unique commode is illustrated at Fig. 248, made
from panels of very old Japanese lacquer and highly decorated with
ormoulu mounts by Caffieri, a skilled chaser of the Louis-Quinze period.

In the latter half of the eighteenth century an improvement in the
design of furniture and of ornament generally crept in, owing to the
study of the ornamentation and design of the classic objects that had
been found in the buried cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii. These cities
had been discovered in 1713, and about forty or fifty years later books
were published illustrating the buried remains, which helped to change
the public taste, and by degrees a demand arose for designs of a more
severe and classic kind.

The prevailing taste was then apparently gratified by the mixture or
grafting of a certain quantity of classic forms with the former
frivolous style of the Louis Quinze.

The style in furniture and in ornament now developed into what is known
as the “Louis Seize” (Louis XVI.), and consisted in its ornament of a
composition of thin scrolls, garlands, bows and quivers of arrows,
ribbons and knots, medallions with classic cameo-cut subjects. Mouldings
were fine and delicately ornamented, and of straight-lined variety; in
fact, the straight line now reasserted itself in architecture and
furniture design (see Figs. 249, 250), in refreshing and healthy
contrast to the tottering and riotous curves of Louis XV. and the Du
Barry period.

Some of the most beautiful furniture expressive of the utmost elegance
was made by Riesner and David, and was decorated with ormoulu mounts by
Gouthière for the Queen Marie Antoinette. Riesner and Gouthière were the
ablest men of their time, who generally worked together in the making
and decorating of the finest furniture of this period. We are fortunate
in possessing in the Jones Collection at South Kensington some of the
very finest examples of this furniture, much of which was made for Marie
Antoinette (Figs. 251, 252).

[Illustration: Fig. 249.—Louis-Seize Writing Table.]

Riesner usually worked in light and richly-coloured woods, such as
tulip-wood, holly, maple, laburnum, purple-wood, and rosewood, for his
marquetry work, and used oak for the linings and foundations.

[Illustration: Fig. 250.—Mahogany Cabinet with Sèvres Plaques. Louis

The best pieces of David and Riesner were usually mounted in ormoulu or
bronze-gilt metal by Gouthière, who has never been equalled as a founder
and chaser of this class of work. Prieur was also a good chaser of the
Louis Seize period. Delafosse was an architect and designer of furniture
and decoration of the period, whose designs were of a more heavy and
classical kind. Cauvet was a German who worked in Paris, and designed
graceful arabesques and figure work, and who published a book of
designs. Lalonde designed work that might be classed in the same
category as that of Cauvet, and Salembier was a prolific designer of a
light and free kind of arabesque. Many of his designs for silk may be
seen in the fabric at the Silk Museum in the Bourse at Lyons. Le Nôtre
designed for furniture, carving, and was also famed with La Quintinie as
a designer of the state and public gardens.

[Illustration: Fig. 251.—Escritoire of Marie Antoinette. (Jones

In Italy the prevailing ornament in furniture and decoration was more
classical than in France. Piranesi, Albertolli, Pergolese, and
Bartolozzi are names of the principal designers of this country in the
eighteenth century, most of whom published extensive works on ornament.
The latter two were brought to England by the brothers John and Robert
Adam (1728-1792), who had travelled in Italy, bringing also with them
classical ideas, which they developed in England, and which influenced
to a great extent the style of architecture and furniture design in this
country. The Adelphi building and the houses in Portland Place were
built from designs by the Adams. All kinds of furniture, sedan chairs,
carriages, plate, &c., were made from their designs. Fine mouldings,
medallions, rosettes, light garlands, capitals in classic form, fluted
pilasters and columns, were all designed by them with the utmost
restraint in style—even to coldness.


  Fig. 252.—Table of Marie Antoinette, inlaid with Sèvres Plaques.
  (Jones Collection.)

Thomas Chippendale was a famous cabinet-maker of the eighteenth century.
His furniture, or even any good imitation of it, fetches a good price at
the present time. He published a book on furniture design and interior
decoration in the year 1764. His sons are supposed to have made nearly
all the best of the mahogany furniture known as “Chippendale.”

[Illustration: Fig. 253.—Parlour Chairs, by Chippendale. (L.)]

The parlour chairs (Fig. 253) are good examples of Chippendale
furniture, and the chairs made in the so-called “Chinese style” (Fig.
254) are attributed to the elder Chippendale.

[Illustration: Fig. 254.—Chair in the Chinese Style, by Thomas
Chippendale. (L.)]

Sherraton and Heppelwhite are names of two other well-known
cabinet-makers, who made excellent mahogany furniture in the last
century, both of whom published works on the subject at the latter end
of the century.

[Illustration: Fig. 255.—Stool and Chair, Carved and Gilt Mountings;
Empire Style. (L.)]

The names of Gillow, Lichfield, Lock, and Copeland are those of eminent
English cabinet-makers and decorators of this period, the two former
firms being still in existence in London.

[Illustration: Fig. 256.—Cabinet of Red Chased Lacquer (Japanese) and
Porcelain Dish. (J.)]

In France, after the Revolution (1792), a more decided phase of the dry
and heavy classicisms was apparent in the furniture design and
decoration of the period (1801). This return to classic heaviness has
been attributed to the influence of the academic painter David, but is
more likely to have been a pandering to the national worship of Napoleon
and the French Empire. It seemed to have been the universal desire to
make everything echo or reflect in some measure the glory of the Emperor
Napoleon I. The meanest thing had some symbol or allusion by the way of
decoration that should remind everybody of the greatness of the new
monarch and of the French Empire, and consequently the heavy and
ponderous style of that period was known as the “Empire Style.” The
furniture of the Empire was usually made in mahogany, decorated with
mountings in brass or bronze, of sphinxes, griffins, Roman emblems, and
antique scrollery (Fig. 255).

[Illustration: Fig. 257—Lacquered Boxes; Sindh. (B.)]

Percier and Fontaine are names of French cabinet-makers and designers
who worked in the Empire style, and who published a book of their

[Illustration: Fig. 258.—Lacquered Leg of Bedpost; Sindh. (B.)]

In England the style was copied, and we find that endless imitations of
the French fashion in tables, sofas, chairs, cabinets, and clocks were
designed after the same antique ideals.

In this country, during the earlier half of the present century, the
mediæval Gothic style was partly revived in architecture and in
furniture, mainly owing to the efforts of Augustus W. Pugin, the
architect. He designed many pieces of furniture, and published a work
consisting of Gothic designs in the year 1835. Notwithstanding the
efforts of Pugin and some other eminent architects and “purists,” no
particular lasting impression was made in this direction.

If we except a few of the best cabinet-makers’ shops, where in the
present day some furniture of good design is made, the majority of such
work is now made by machinery, or is often too much the work of the
upholsterer, and is consequently less artistic and more mechanical both
in design and construction.

Some of the most beautiful furniture of Japanese and Chinese manufacture
is made in carved wood and lacquered in black or red. Cabinets with
drawers and quaintly contrived cupboards and recesses (Fig. 256) are
made by the Japanese, finished in lacquers, and inlaid with ivory and
mother-of-pearl. The Chinese are especially skilled in carving red
lac-work. Some vases of great dimensions and of exquisite workmanship in
this material may be seen in the Kensington Museum.

Lac-work is also executed with great skilfulness by the natives of
India. Bracelets, armlets, or _golias_, are made of lac in various
colours, the golden decorations of which are made from tinfoil and
varnished with a yellow varnish made of myrrh, copal, and sweet oil
boiled together. Boxes, bed-posts, and other furniture, made in wood or
_papier-mâché_, are lacquered and decorated with flat renderings of
flowers and conventional shapes of animals and birds (Figs. 257, 258).
All kinds of toys, weights and measures, cooking utensils, circular
playing-cards, turnery, &c., are objects in small wares made in the
choicest lac-work of India.

                              CHAPTER VI.
                            TEXTILE FABRICS.

Weaving is an art that has been practised from prehistoric times.
Grasses, shreds of bark, rushes, bast, &c., were at first woven, and
used as articles of dress and coverings such as we see in use to-day
among the uncivilised tribes of the world. The loom is also a very
ancient invention, and must have been used much earlier than we have any
record of it.

One of the oldest varieties of fabrics made in the loom is that of
linen, the threads of which are prepared from the fibrous parts of the
flax plant stalk. We have not only Biblical evidence of the weaving of
linen by the ancient Egyptians, but the actual material itself, which
has been proved by the strictest scientific analysis to be the product
of the flax plant.

The oldest kind of Egyptian linen was that used for the swathing bands
of the mummies, and was formerly known under the erroneous name of
_byssus_, the latter being a material woven from the filaments or beard
of the _pinna marina_, or sea-caterpillar.

The various methods and processes used in the manufacture of linen are
well illustrated in the Egyptian paintings and bas-reliefs, such as the
beating of the flax, combing, spinning, and weaving in the loom. Some of
the Egyptian linen was exceedingly fine in texture and perfect in
workmanship: a piece of linen found at Memphis had 540 threads to the
inch in the warp.

Linen yarn and the raw flax were exported from Egypt by the Phœnicians
and Carthaginians to Greece, Italy, Germany, Spain, and probably to the
British Isles. The Greek women wove linen for their garments, as the
women of most European countries have done in the ancient and Middle
Ages. Germany, Holland, and Belgium have from early times been the chief
countries for linen manufacture in Europe. Perhaps at the present day
the city of Belfast in Ireland is the most important seat of linen
industry in the world, and Dundee in Scotland might claim the second
place. For the last two hundred years the linen trade of Ulster has been
in a flourishing condition. The English Parliament from the days of
William III. to the present time have encouraged and promoted the trade,
but the initial success of this industry was owing in a great measure to
the skill and energy of Louis Crommelin and the Huguenot colony, who
came to the North of Ireland from France after the Revocation of the
Edict of Nantes (1685), and in the year 1699 finally settled at Lisburn,
near Belfast. A similar colony of French Protestants, who were weavers
by trade, settled in Scotland in 1727 under their leader, Nicholas

A great epoch in the history of weaving dates from the time of the
invention of the Jacquard machine, which caused a revolution in nearly
all branches of weaving. Jean-Marie Jacquard (1752-1834), the inventor
of this machine, was a native of Lyons and a silk weaver by trade. The
Jacquard machine is attached to any ordinary loom, and its work consists
in mechanically selecting and raising the warp threads, when the shuttle
passes across the loom, the action being regulated by means of cards
with pierced holes through which the lifting cords or needles pass, the
holes in the cards being arranged or cut in accordance with the
preconceived pattern that ultimately figures in the woven cloth.

The first Jacquard machine used in England was set up in Coventry in the
year 1820.

Silk and its manufacture by the Chinese was known and understood from a
period anterior to the date of 2700 years before the Christian Era.

Perhaps the first knowledge of silk products in Europe was due to the
conquest of Persia and portion of India by Alexander the Great, who came
in contact with the Chinese, or some people who lived beyond India, and
who had probably worn silken garments. To these people the Greeks gave
the general name of the _Seres_. This name was not only given to the
people beyond India by the Romans, but to the silkworm itself.
Aristotle, Virgil, Dionysius the Geographer, and later Pausanias,
mention the _seer_ or spinning-worm, from which the rich and valuable
Oriental garments were made. Pliny says that the Assyrians made silk
from the _bombyx_ and taught the art to the inhabitants of the island of
Cos. Pamphile, the daughter of Plates, made the finest woven silk in the
island of Cos. It is supposed that in the first instance the raw
material found its way from China, through India, Persia, and Arabia, to
the Grecian Isles, and eventually to Italy and Western Europe. In
European countries silk at first was mixed with wool or linen, and
garments of this material were worn by the Romans.

The thin gauze-like silken garments of Cos were of a pure quality and
were imported to Rome in the second century and were reckoned worth
their weight in gold. About this time great quantities of the raw silk
were brought from the East by the overland route and by sea, and in the
end of the fourth century silk had become so cheap as to be within the
reach of the common people (Marcellinus, A.D. 380). Tyre and Berytus
were the chief seats of silk manufacture from which the Roman markets
were supplied.

In the year 552 an event is recorded that revolutionised the manufacture
of silk in Europe. The story is related that two monks, either Greeks or
Persians, were sent as ambassadors to China, and there learnt the arts
and methods of silk production from the natives. They succeeded in
secretly conveying in their hollow cane walking-sticks a quantity of
silkworms’ eggs which they brought to Constantinople, where they were
hatched in warm manure, and the grubs were fed on the leaves of the
mulberry-tree. Very soon after this a royal factory was set up in the
palace at Constantinople. Women weavers were pressed into the Emperor’s
service, and a state monopoly was set up for the manufacture of silk

The introduction of the silkworm did not cheapen the price of silk; on
the contrary, the production of the royal looms were sold at excessive
prices, and far beyond those paid for the material before the silkworm
rearing period in Europe.

The court of the Eastern Empire did not hold the silk-weaving monopoly
long, for very soon after the secret of the rearing of the worms spread
to the Peloponnesus and the isles of Greece, where, from the sixth to
the middle of the twelfth centuries, Europe was supplied with nearly all
the silk it required.

In the year 1130 Roger I., the Norman King of Sicily, brought a colony
of silk weavers from Athens and induced them to settle in Palermo, where
an extensive silk industry was already developed under the former
Saracenic rulers, who were vassals of the independent Fātimy Khalifs of
Egypt, during the ninth and tenth centuries.

After the introduction of the Greek weavers into the Palermo workshops
we find the Siculo-Arabian designs altering from the older circular
panels of Saracenic ornament, which consisted of the designs of birds
and animals placed back to back, or _vis-à-vis_, of Mesopotamian origin,
to bands of birds, animals, and fishes, grotesque and otherwise, mixed
with foliage and scrolls containing mock Arabic inscriptions.

To trace the analysis of patterns in silk fabrics is to trace the
historical development of the fabrics themselves, for pattern and
manufacture, historically considered, have developed side by side.

When we consider the varieties indicated by the names of Byzantine,
Saracenic, or Arabian in its various forms, Italian and French, we shall
find that in the order mentioned the chronological development of
material and pattern run concurrently.

Silk, in its raw state, during the first few centuries of our era
arrived in the principal towns of Asia Minor, in Alexandria in Egypt,
and in Byzantium (Constantinople), from China, by the way of the Indian
Ocean and the Red Sea, and overland by caravans.

The Persians and the Byzantine Greeks, from the first to the eighth
centuries, monopolised the Western silk manufacture, as they already
possessed the looms on which they had made linen, woollen cloth, and
carpet tapestry. It required very little adaptation to convert them into
silk looms, and towards the early part of the seventh century the new
material had firmly established itself in Persia, Syria, and

The patterns for the most part were symbolic and large in character, and
nearly all of them had their origin in the “Homa,” or sacred “Tree of
Life” (Figs. 259, 260), with the worshippers on either side consisting
of kings or other personages in the act of adoration, such as we find as
a common theme engraved on the Assyrian cylinders, wall decorations, and
bronze platters, which had its origin in the older Egyptian forms. Where
the Sacred Tree, with animals instead of human forms, was made a feature
of in the silk fabrics, the stuff had a Persian development derived from
Babylonian sources, but the Greeks or Byzantines used this pattern for
the sake of expediency, and not in a symbolic sense.

There is a piece of very old Byzantine silk in the Kensington
Collection, and also a piece of the same material in the Silk Museum at
Lyons, which consists of a design of winged personages wrestling with
lions; the pattern is woven in strips, and the colour is a red ground
with white, gold-coloured, blue and green figuring. The style of the
design and peculiarity of the weaving prove it to be of a date anterior
to the eighth century. This particular Byzantine tissue has the red weft
of the ground executed in five different shades of the red colour thrown
crosswise (_lancé croisé_), each shade alternating in three threads by
three; the warp is thick, and the shuttle passes right across the width,
all the material being pure silk—these are the marks by which Byzantine
fabrics are known.

[Illustration: Fig. 259.—Assyrian Homa or Sacred Tree.]

[Illustration: Fig. 260.—Tree of Life, Assyrian.]

It is only in genuine examples of Byzantine Greek fabrics where we find
the human figure is used in the design, or animals of a free and natural
type, as the Byzantine silk designs were invariably taken from Greek
mythological sources and scriptural subjects. Genuine examples of
Byzantine fabrics are very scarce, and the one described is a genuine
example of great value.

When the Arabs under Mohammed had conquered the countries of Persia,
Syria, and the countries south of the Persian Sea, they found already in
these places the manufacture of silk in a flourishing state. From this
time—the ninth century—until the fourteenth, we find that from the
borders of China and India in the east to Africa and Spain in the south
and west—which embraces the countries conquered by the Saracens—the silk
industry was carefully fostered under the Mohammedan rule. Next to
precious stones in importance and value the chiefest treasures of the
Khalifs of Bagdad, Cairo, Fez, and Cordova were silken goods. The
bazaars of the chief towns were filled with the precious material, and
silk fairs or markets were held periodically, chiefly at Antioch, Rey,
Erzeroum, Ispahan, Jerusalem, and Mecca. The Mussulman laws forbade the
faithful to negotiate with the (Christian) infidels, but there was a
saving clause that helped them out of this difficulty, which allowed
them to bargain with the Jews, and these middlemen did not scruple to do
business with either the Christian infidel or Mussulman.

The Jews were then, as they are now, the bankers, merchants, and dealers
in silk and precious stones, and even before this date they were the
purveyors of all kinds of articles of luxury to the wealthy Romans of
the south, the Gallo-Romans of the west, and the Goths of Northern

Notwithstanding the laws of excommunication then in force, Italian
Christian merchants, as well as Jews, traded with the Mohammedan world,
and both Jews and Italians travelled over Asia Minor, North Africa,
throughout Italy, Sicily, Spain, France, and England, distributing the
products of Saracenic looms, and establishing silk manufactories in
Christian countries, notably in Sicily and Italy. Shawls, dress goods,
and hangings were then the principal articles of silk manufacture.

Persia was the original place from whence came the best patterns and
materials; it was really the fountain-head of textile designs, and from
thence they spread over Arabia into North Africa, Sicily, and Italy, the
patterns being modified according to the popular taste of the different
countries and by the introduction of various symbolic features.

                           TEXTILES OF INDIA.

The textiles of India form an important section of the industrial arts
of that country. The materials used in the woven and embroidered fabrics
are silk, cotton, wool, hair, coloured grasses, jute, gold, silver, and
various tinsels.

Among the chief artistic productions in textiles are the _kincobs_, or
silken brocades, made at Ahmedabad and Benares, the embroidered muslin
of Dacca, the pile carpets of Malabar, the rugs of Madras, and the
shawls of Cashmere.

The native excellence, however, in the design, colour, and manufacture
that has characterised these textiles for centuries past is now in
danger of extinction—and great mischief has been done already—from the
influence of European designs, the introduction of magenta and aniline
dyes, and by the competition with European markets, resulting in the
production of cheaper forms of Indian goods. It is only in the case of a
few instances where the textiles are made to order, or under the
patronage of some of the remaining Indian princes, that the traditional
superiority of manufacture is still maintained. Another exception is the
production of the silk brocades, or kincobs (Fig. 261); this is owing in
a great measure to the demand for these goods by the Chinese and other
Orientals, who have not yet adopted the Western ideas of imitating the
European style of dress.

Some of these kincobs are highly ornamented with interwoven gold or
silver-gilt patterns of floral form, others are ornamented as in the
“happy hunting-ground” patterns of Benares manufacture, with flowers,
birds, and animals. This particular form of fabric is no doubt a
survival, through Persian channels, of the embroidered garments of the
ancient Babylonian monarchs.

In the production of cotton goods the trade of the native caste of
weavers has suffered very much by the great importation of Manchester
cottons, and by the establishment of monster cotton power-loom factories
at Ahmedabad and elsewhere. Many natives of the weaver caste have been
obliged to take to agricultural and other less lucrative pursuits, owing
to the partial ruin of their trade by English competition.

[Illustration: Fig. 261.—Kincob of Ahmedabad. (B.)]

Cotton-printing is still, however, an important native industry,
especially in the city of Lucknow, where the colouring and design are
still superior to that of the English or French chintzes. Some of the
best Indian, or rather Indo-Persian, ornament is found on the printed
calico _palampores_, or bed-coverings, made at Masulipatam and other
places. Calicoes woven in varying stripes of coloured threads, checks,
and tartans of all hues, are among the specialities of Indian textiles,
the material being used for trouserings, skirts, and petticoats.

The once-famous Dacca muslins, that on account of their gossamer-like
appearance have been known under the names of “evening dew” and “running
water,” are now almost non-existent, a cheaper and coarser variety
taking their place. Muslins from Dacca and other places embroidered with
silk are still greatly used in India, and are largely exported to the
surrounding Eastern countries, including Turkey and Egypt.

Cotton fabrics interwoven with golden thread were formerly made in great
quantities to meet the wants of the once-powerful native rulers and the
Court retinues, but now, since the English rule in India, this kind of
fabric with many others of a sumptuous nature are much less in demand.

Printing patterns in gold and silver foil is a common method of
decorating dark purple or deep green cottons; muslins are also stamped
with patterns in gold.

Fine gold and silver-gilt wire is used very much in India for
lace-making, weaving, and embroidery. The natives excel all Europeans in
the art of wire-drawing and in the making of gold and silver foil,
tinsels, and spangles. These industries are carried on chiefly in the
cities of Delhi, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, and Lahore.

Silk manufacture is still a flourishing industry in many parts of India,
but, on the other hand, in some places it has declined very much owing
to European competition. The _tasar_ or _tusser_ silk is a native wild
silk, from which a coarser variety of silk is now manufactured in
increasing quantities, and is exported chiefly from Bengal. It is a
useful material, but has not the brilliancy or sheen of the ordinary
silk. Plain silk cloth is made in the Punjaub, and the damasked or
figured variety is made chiefly at Bhawalpur.

Cashmere has been famed for centuries past for its beautiful woollen
shawls made from _pushm_, the wool of the Cashmere goat, and from
camel’s hair wool; the woven material of the latter is known as

The principal design on the Cashmere shawls is the cone pattern
decorated with a mixture of small flowers, the fillings between the
cones being also a diapering of small floral forms. The cone patterns
are also found on metal work, enamels, and carvings from Cashmere and
its neighbourhood. On the genuine shawls the ornamentation is
embroidered in wide borders, centrepieces, and corner groups of flowers.
The Cashmere shawls have been imitated in woven shawls by the French and
in the Paisley shawls of Scotch manufacture. Some of the costliest
Cashmere shawls are embroidered with a “terrestrial paradise” of singing
birds, flowers, animals, and figures.

Indian ornament or decoration, from its mosaic-like or flattened-out
character, is extremely well suited to the decoration of textile
fabrics. The native ornament consists of a variety of flat renderings of
the daisy (_sventi_), the lotus, the shoe flower (Figs. 91, 92, 261),
knop and flower patterns, parrots, peacocks, lions, tigers, elephants,
men on horseback, hunting or fighting, &c., and is always rendered in
flat tints of alternating colours on flat grounds, in such works as
enamels, tiles, pottery, wall paintings, lac-work, and textiles of all
kinds. Though at times the vice of Indian ornament is illustrated in a
riotous use of small detail, on the whole it is well suited for the
decoration of flat surfaces. In the artistic products of the Mohammedan
people of India, or descendants of Persian settlers, the ornament
invariably consists of Persian or Saracenic types; the former is
distinctly seen in the Masulipatam rugs, carpets, and _palampores_, and
the latter in the various art work of the Mogul period, as, for
instance, in the inlaid marbles and other work of Agra. (Fig. 293.)

The Sassanian Persian designs in silk, as we have seen, were derived
from the more ancient Assyrian and Babylonian embroideries, the motives
of which were invariably the Tree of Life, or “Grove of Ashareh,” with
divinities, priests, or royal worshippers on either side, the whole
usually enclosed in circles.

In the Persian and in the later Mesopotamian Mōsilwork animals took the
place of the human figures, and were often placed back to back, divided
by a stem or piece of floriated ornament—a reminiscence of the sacred
tree—and still enclosed in a circular band. The animals were generally
lions, cheetahs, or were griffin forms, all treated as ornamental
abstractions, and the intervening spaces between the circles were filled
up with forms of parrots or other birds, conventionally treated.

The early Saracenic designs were copies of these (Fig. 262). Later
Saracenic designs had less of the bird and animal forms, and more of the
purely Arabian ornament, with the addition of horizontal bands of Kufic
inscriptions such as texts from the Koran, laudatory compliments to and
names or titles of Sultans and Khalifs for whom the fabrics were made
(Fig. 263).

It is singular that the rich silken fabrics made for and by the Saracens
had nearly always representations of animals in the designs, although
this was contrary to the laws of their faith; but this may be accounted
for by their practice of copying or adapting the forms of decoration
already in use in the countries they had conquered, and their lack of
originality in design during their earlier days was, perhaps, the
strongest motive in causing them to adapt ready-made inventions to their
own uses.

The wearing of pure silken garments was also forbidden by the Mohammedan
religion, but the Saracens got over that difficulty by the mixture of a
few cotton threads with the silken web. The Egyptian Mamlūks (1250-1390)
were very prodigal in the use of silk for dresses, banners, tent
hangings, carpets, and horse clothing, supplied from the looms of Cairo
and Alexandria, and imported from the Eastern centres.

[Illustration: Fig. 262.—Silk Damask; Eleventh Century; Early Saracenic
(L. P.)]

In the thirteenth century the silk industry of the Saracens was in its
greatest vigour, with designs mostly in imitation of the Persian school,
and in the fourteenth the same motives were used, but arranged in rows
of horizontal bands—which is essentially a Greek method—and was due to
the influence of the Greek and Christian Coptic designers. A good
example of this style may be seen in the peacock design, Fig. 264.

[Illustration: Fig. 263.—Silk Fabric of Iconium; Arabian: Thirteenth
Century. (Lyons Museum.)]

On account of the seaboard of Asia Minor having a mixed population of
Jews, Christians, and Saracens, silk fabrics from that country were
decorated with imitations of Persian designs, having the “homa” or “tree
of life,” Christian elements, such as the cross, seen in the “tree of
life” (Fig. 265), and also imitations of Arabic writing. The Syrian
examples of textiles are not so good in material or workmanship as the
Byzantine or old Persian.

[Illustration: Fig. 264.—Arabian Silk Wall Hanging of the Fourteenth
Century. J.]

[Illustration: Fig. 265.—Apostolic Tree of Life, with the Cross Emblem.]

The most interesting development in the design of silk fabrics is that
which took place in Sicily. The Sicilians were first taught the art of
spinning and weaving of silk and the rearing of the silkworm by their
rulers the Saracens of Egypt, and the early designs of the
Siculo-Arabian style have, in addition to the Persian cheetahs, Indian
parrots, and antelopes, such animals of African origin as the giraffe,
elephant, gazelle, and other fauna of that continent. Gold, silver, and
cotton threads were used with the silk in these fabrics.

Mention has been made that in the twelfth century, when the Normans
conquered Sicily, of their bringing silk weavers from Athens and from
other parts of Greece to work at Palermo. Here and at this time (1130) a
distinct alteration of the design took place by the introduction of the
Greek classic and Christian elements of ornament in mixture with some of
the older Saracenic forms.

Mock Arabic inscriptions were also used very much in these Sicilian
fabrics; this may have been done by Christian designers ignorant of
Arabic, in order to give to the fabrics an appearance of Saracenic work,
which, perhaps, made them sell better when exported (Fig. 266).

Another peculiarity of the Palermitan silks is the multitude of elements
found in the designs. All kinds of fabulous animals and birds are used
as in heraldic blazoning: sunbursts, cloud-forms, Christian emblems and
elements occurring as forms of angels with swinging censers, initials of
sacred names, and emblematic plants. The use of these heraldic and
Christian elements was in a great measure due to the influence of the
Crusaders in the Middle Ages. The favourite colouring of the Sicilian
silks was dark red grounds and green foliage; the birds, animals, and
mythological elements were usually woven in gold threads as in the
example given (Fig. 267).

[Illustration: Fig. 266.—Silk Damask; Sicilian; with Imitated Arabic
Characters. (R.)]

Towards the end of the fourteenth century and during the fifteenth the
designs became more floriated, the vine and pomegranate, with vase
forms, were used and were really developments from, and did duty for,
the sacred tree of the early patterns, and instead of a circular framing
the flamboyant or ogival diaper lines were introduced. This repeating
framework was derived from the Saracenic Pointed architecture and
adopted in the ogival Gothic at this date (Figs. 268, 269).

[Illustration: Fig. 267.—Silk Damask; Sicilian; Fifteenth Century.

During the sixteenth century the pineapple was used very much under a
variety of modifications as an ornamental form in fabrics (Fig. 269),
and often in company with the pomegranate. This came about after the
discovery of the West Indies, from where the pineapple had been imported
into Europe (Fig. 270). Large-pattern damask diapers, brocades, and
velvets were now made in many places in Italy, with patterns based on
waving lines or ogival forms enclosing bilateral schemes of ornament,
all of which were reminiscences of the “tree of life” patterns, and in
all may be traced the strong influences of Saracenic design.

[Illustration: Fig. 268.—Silk Damask; Florentine; Fifteenth Century.]

From the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries, and even later, Lucca in
Tuscany, Genoa, Florence, and Venice were celebrated for the manufacture
of silken brocades and velvets, which have been used for the dresses of
priests, kings, and noblemen, as well as for hangings.

[Illustration: Fig. 269.—Diaper in Velvet Brocade; Italian; Sixteenth

The dress patterns of those days were all of a very large size of
diaper, such as are now only used for hangings and furniture coverings.
The Venetian and Spanish pictures of the period contain many
illustrations of these patterns on the dresses of the figures and
hangings of the chambers.

[Illustration: Fig. 270.—Velvet Brocade; Italian; Sixteenth Century.]

In France the silk weaving industry was first established at Lyons about
the middle of the sixteenth century. The designs of the first efforts of
the French weavers were very similar if not copies of the prevailing
Italian school, but soon after became more floral in character, and more
and more realistic renderings of flowers and foliage, until about the
eighteenth century, when they partook of the same character as the
pottery and furniture decoration, which has been already described.
During the Mediæval and Renaissance periods France, like England,
imported silks and velvets from Italy and the East, and their linen and
drapery from Flanders and Germany.

Bruges in Flanders was especially famous during the sixteenth century
for its silks and velvets, and Ypres was even more so for its fine
linens and damasks.

Very little silk was manufactured in England prior to 1629, when about
this date a company of silkmen was formed in London. The Revocation of
the Edict of Nantes in 1685 had the effect of firmly establishing the
manufacture of silk in England by the colony of French refugees who
settled at Spitalfields, St. Giles’s, and Soho in London, and at
Canterbury, Norwich, and Coventry. The trade soon afterwards spread to
Manchester, Macclesfield, and Paisley in Scotland, and the first silk
mill for spinning and throwing was erected at Derby by John Lombe in the
year 1717, which was worked by water power.

The designs for the patterns of English silks have always been more or
less imitations of the prevalent French styles, and, in fact, England
depended largely until late years on the efforts of French designers for
nearly all of its textile patterns. This is not the case, however,
to-day, for very few foreigners are now employed as designers by English

The chief seat of the velvet manufacture in Germany at the present day
is Crefeld; Switzerland produces great quantities of silk, which is made
chiefly at Zurich and the villages on the banks of the Lake of Zurich,
at Bâsle, and other places.

China, the birthplace of silk, and younger Japan are still famed for
their delicate fabrics in this material, from whence the raw products
are imported extensively into Europe. In America the silk industry has
made great headway of late years, the principal seat of the manufacture
is the town of Paterson in New Jersey.

England has always held its own in the manufacture of woollen goods of
good material, mostly of plain cloth, but sometimes inwrought or woven
with designs of figures, animals, and foliage patterns. At Bath,
Norwich, Worcester, and in the abbeys and great religious houses during
the Middle Ages the monks employed a good deal of their time at the
loom, and considerable quantities of their work were exported to the
Continent during the fourteenth century. The town of Worsted in Norfolk
has given the name—worsted—to a cloth made there from a new preparation
of the woollen yarn, which consisted of a special twisting of the
threads so as to make the yarn of a harder texture. This cloth has been
used for church vestments, hangings, and bed coverings.

Cotton, the woolly product of the cotton-tree, and the cloth made from
it, has been known in India and the East from the earliest times.

Pliny mentions cotton under the name of a fabric called _oxylina_, made
from the cotton that grew about the branches of the _xylon_ or
_gossypium_ tree, or shrub, which grew in India, Upper Egypt, and

The Romans imported cotton fabrics from India, and the priests of
ancient Egypt used it for their dresses.

The cotton plant was cultivated by the Moors in Spain about the
beginning of the tenth century, and they were the first people in Europe
to make cotton fabrics. They are also credited with the invention of
fustian-making (Spanish, _fustes_), a cotton material woven and
afterwards cut precisely like velvet; it is generally thought that as
fustian preceded the manufacture of velvet, the making of the latter may
have been suggested to the Italians by the Spanish fustian.

In the year 1585, after the sacking of Antwerp, some Flemish weavers
settled at Manchester—now the great seat of cotton manufacture in
England—and commenced the new industry of cotton spinning and weaving.
Before this date Manchester and its neighbourhood were noted for the
weaving of linen. The linen yarn was imported from Ireland, woven at
Manchester, and the cloth sent back for distribution and sale in Ireland
and other parts of the kingdom.

The power of production in cotton goods was enormously increased by the
inventions of Arkwright with his water-frame spinning machine,
Hargreaves, who in 1770 invented the spinning-jenny, and by Compton, who
improved on the latter by his invention of the mule-jenny in 1779.

In 1785 Dr. Cartwright invented an automatic loom, which others improved
on, when finally Horrocks, of Stockport, in 1803 brought to a successful
issue his invention of the power-loom now in general use.

Cotton printing and dyeing in colours have been successfully practised
in India, Asia Minor, the Levant, and in the East generally from the
earliest times. The patterns found in the commoner prints and chintzes
of to-day have still reminiscences of Indian and Persian ornament.

Most of the English designs in cotton prints of the more important
classes have a strong tendency to floral patterns of a naturalistic
type, the outcome of the imitation of French silk patterns that were
common in the early part of this century.

Calico block-printing was introduced into England about the middle of
the eighteenth century by Robert Peel—the grandfather of the first
baronet—who cut his own blocks. Printing by means of cylinders was
invented in 1785. Previous to the invention of calico printing “painted
cloths” of linen and other fabrics were used as hangings and in the
general furnishing of English apartments.


The earliest method of decorating textiles was that of embroidering. It
has been called “painting with the needle,” and is even an older art
than pattern weaving. In some of the oldest monuments of art that are
still in existence, as the bas-reliefs of Egypt and Assyria, there may
be seen representations of the embroidery that formerly decorated the
kings’ garments (see Figs. 162A to 165, former volume), and we have seen
that these were the models for some of the earliest woven patterns. At
first embroidered patterns would be simple geometrical designs, and
afterwards symbolic units mixed with simple floral forms, as many of the
older Egyptian embroidered patterns usually were, until by degrees the
higher forms of patterns with figures or personages and animal forms
were developed by the Chaldeans and Assyrians.

The latter nations, with their inherent love of barbaric splendour and
Asiatic predilections for georgeous colouring, surpassed the Egyptians
in the art of embroidery.

The Persians and surrounding nations inherited from the older races this
love of colour and early traditions of design, which are still seen in
their tapestry, carpets, and embroidered work of all kinds.

The ancient Phrygian and Lydian people, who inhabited a portion of Asia
Minor, were cultured races whom the Greeks and Romans always regarded as
the inventors of embroidery—"_phrygio_" being the Roman word for
embroiderer. The Phrygian embroidered patterns were mostly geometric,
but in the later periods plant and animal forms were also used. Most of
the decoration of the Ionian Greek pottery, consisting of bands of
animals, birds, rosettes, and lozenges, are copies from the embroidered
work of Asia Minor. To-day, even, the women of these parts embroider
their bodices, aprons, head-coverings, and towels in an almost similar
style of ornament.

The rock-cut façades of the Phrygian tombs, unlike the imitated timber
constructions of the Lydian tombs, have sculptured decorations that have
been copied from geometrical forms of embroidery, and in many cases
these façades resemble an embroidered curtain or carpet that would be
hung up to serve the purposes of a door to the entrance of the earlier
square domestic wooden buildings, of which the Phrygian and Lydian tombs
were imitations in stone.

The Assyrian thresholds (Fig. 166, former volume) and many other
sculptures and wall decorations in painted tiles of Chaldean and Persian
origin were usually copies of embroidery, all of which clearly shows
that embroidery and pattern weaving preceded stone, wood, and metal

The Greeks were highly skilled in making embroidery. Homer repeatedly
alludes to this art as an employment for women. Helen of Troy and
Penelope wrought beautiful robes and hangings in their looms,
embroidering them with rich needlework. On a Greek vase from Chiusi,
Penelope is represented at work on a loom of the “high warp”
(_haute-lisse_) or vertical pattern which is used so much to-day by the
embroiderers and carpet weavers of the East. We have many allusions in
the Bible to those who made all kinds of cunning needlework. Josephus
says that the veil of the Temple at Jerusalem “was a Babylonian curtain
embroidered with blue and fine linen, with scarlet and purple, and of a
texture that was wonderful.”

In England, during the Anglo-Saxon times, embroidered work had a great
reputation, so much so that it was greatly prized and in request in
France and other parts of Europe, where it was known as “Anglicum Opus.”
From an inventory of Charles V. of France (1364-80) we learn that he had
a room furnished with English “hullings” or hangings embroidered in
blue, with figures of lions, eagles, and leopards. Embroidery was the
chief occupation of Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman ladies. Bede and other
old historians frequently extolled the excellence of design and
workmanship of the English embroidered palls, copes, corporals,
chasubles, and hangings. After the Conquest and during the Norman period
all kinds of heraldic devices were introduced amongst the ornament and
floriated patterns; sometimes stories and romances were illustrated with
the needle, and belonging to this order the famous Bayeux Tapestry may
be mentioned, which represented in the form of a long frieze the
Conquest of England by the Normans. It is supposed to have been wrought
by Queen Matilda and her maidens, but was probably made to the order of
Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, and brother-in-law to the Queen. It is not only a
celebrated piece of needlework, but is an invaluable record of the
costume of the period (Fig. 271). A coloured photograph of it is now in
the Kensington Museum.

[Illustration: Fig. 271.—Norman Archer from the Bayeux Tapestry.]

About the date of the thirteenth century various technical names were
given to the different kinds of embroidery, such as “_opus plumarium_,”
or, as it is now called, “feather-stitch,” a kind of needlework where
the stitches are laid lengthwise, and not across, overlapping each other
like the feathers in a bird’s plumage; “_opus pulvinarium_,” or
“cushion” style, where the work is done in cross and tent stitch; “_opus
pectineum_,” where the embroidery is made to represent or imitate
weaving, and had the design carried through from front to back of the
foundation material. The Opus Anglicum, so highly prized, seems to have
been a kind of chain-stitch embroidery, giving a granulated surface. The
workwoman would start, for instance, in the case of executing the face
of a human figure, at a point in the centre of the cheek or chin, and
work around it in a circular method, and where the hollows and dimples
would occur, a heated metal rod with a small bulb at the end of it would
be used to press down the cavities.

[Illustration: Fig. 272.—Part of the Orphrey of the Syon Cope; in the
South Kensington Museum.]

In the well-known Syon Cope, an English embroidery of this period (Fig.
272), both the old feather-stitch and the chain-stitch are used as above

[Illustration: Fig. 273.—Carpet from Persia, embroidered in Gold and
Silver on Dark Blue Velvet; Early Eighteenth Century. (S.K.M.)]

The _Crewel_ stitch is a combination of the long and short
feather-stitches, and is adapted for shading effects. In the stitches
known as chain, knotted, and button-hole stitch the thread is looped;
but lies flat in satin-stitch, crewel, darning, tent, and cross
stitches. Satin and darning stitches can be worked so that the design
appears the same on both sides of the cloth, but chain and crewel stitch
only produces the design on one side of the material.

[Illustration: Fig. 274.—State Gloves, formerly belonging to Louis XIII.

Gold thread has been used very much in all ages in embroidery, and
silver thread also, but unless the latter is varnished or lacquered it
goes black by tarnishing. Gold “passing” is a silver-gilt thread wound
around silk.

In old embroideries and woven tissues a gold thread was made of thin
parchment gilded and twisted around silk: the Japanese used gilded paper
in the same way, and sometimes the pure gold was used in thin, flat,
beaten-out strips for both embroideries and woven fabrics.

In Persia and in the East generally an extensive use is made of cloths
of gold and silver embroidery (Fig. 273) as well as closely-covered
needlework in silk and wool, and another modern kind is white silk
embroidery on white cambric or calico.

Cut work or “appliqué” is another form of embroidery, where flowers,
foliage, ornament, and figures are separately wrought with the needle,
and the spaces cut out of the ground material into which these pieces
were inserted. Many examples of Spanish, Rhenish, and Florentine
needlework may be seen in the Kensington Museum, in which the
architectural portions of the design are woven, and the figures of
saints and other subjects worked on fine canvas and inserted in the
panel spaces. Another and commoner kind of appliqué work is where the
ornamental shapes are cut out of silk, velvet, linen, or woollen
material, and sewed on to the cloth foundation, an edging material being
used consisting of silk cord, gilt leather, or gimp. Appliqué work is
more adapted for hangings and furniture coverings than for dress
material, though it was formerly used for dresses. The illustration
(Fig. 274) gives a very good idea of the style of ornament in Spanish or
French embroidery of the Renaissance period.


Tapestry weaving is an art that requires greater care and skill on the
part of the workman than any other branch of textile manufacture,
especially in that kind known as “storied tapestry,” in which is woven a
design or picture copied from a previously executed cartoon.

Tapestry is woven in the “high warp” (_haute-lisse_) or in the “low
warp” loom: in the former case the loom is vertical, and in the latter
horizontal. The largest sized and the more important kinds of tapestry,
such as the “Gobelins,” are made in the high warp looms.

On account of the skill required, the accuracy and difficulty connected
with the weaving of storied tapestry, it takes a long time to educate
and perfect the training of a tapestry weaver—who must be an artist
himself, so much being left to him in the selection, harmonizing, and
shading of the different colours, even after the design is made that he
is required to copy.

In tapestry weaving the warp is covered by the woof on both its sides.
The warp is divided into two leaves or parts by a thread, and by a glass
rod or tube called the _bâton de croisure_.

“To form the web, the workman takes a shuttle mounted with wool or silk,
the end of which he fastens to the warp to the left of the space to be
covered by the colour in his shuttle; then passing his left hand between
the two leaves, separated by the _bâton de croisure_, he draws towards
him the thread which this shade is to cover; his right hand, passing
between the threads, lays hold of the shuttle, which he brings to the
right, and his left hand taking hold of the coats brings forward the
back thread of the warp, while the right hand returns the shuttle to the
place from which it was first moved. This passing and returning of the
shuttle forms what is called two shoots or a course.” (De Champeaux).

One of the great difficulties of the weaver is the shading off or
gradation of the colours, which is rendered more difficult by the design
being reproduced on the wrong side from the position of the weaver.
Hatching and stippling are resorted to in order to prevent a harsh or
mosaic-like appearance, and it is here that the great skill and artistic
knowledge of the weaver are most required. An extraordinary number of
tones and shades are used in an important piece of work, all of which
require to be fast dyed in colour in order to secure durability of tone
in the fabric. It is said that M. Chevreul, the late famous French
chemist and director of the dyeing department of the Gobelins, had
composed a chromatic prism of 14,420 different tones.

The best wool used in principal tapestry works on the Continent has
always been imported from Kent in England.

The art of tapestry weaving was originally acquired from the East, where
carpets of a floral and ornamental design were woven in the imitation of
the old hand-made embroideries. In Europe the names of Sarazins or
Sarazinois tapestry were given to these products from the fact that they
were made and exported by the Saracens. Perhaps the earliest woven
tapestries of Europe were the Flemish, which were first made towards the
end of the twelfth century. The towns of Arras, Oudenarde, Lille,
Brussels, Valenciennes, Tournay, and Bruges were celebrated for the
manufacture of tapestry, of which the town of Arras was the most
important, hence the old name of “Arras” used in England for all kinds
of storied tapestry.

Flanders was a rich and powerful country during the fourteenth and
fifteenth centuries, and at that time the ports of Bruges and Antwerp
were the greatest in the world. The various trades were protected by the
great corporations or guilds against the encroachments of the nobles on
their rights, and the most sturdy and turbulent of all the guilds was
that of the Flemish weavers, by reason of their numbers and general
prosperity of their trade. The product of the Flemish looms found its
way to all parts of Europe and particularly to England, and as far as
design and workmanship were concerned, and in the flat treatment of the
former to the material, these old Flemish tapestries have never been
excelled. The flat decorative treatment in the figure subjects of the
earlier work, consisting of allegorical designs and romances by such
artists as Roger van der Weyden, Stuerbout, Hugo van der Goes, and other
artists of the Van Eyck school, were singularly appropriate to the
material, and immensely superior to the more gorgeous effects of colour
and misapplied shading of the later French tapestries. Examples of this
earlier work are still in existence in the museums and palaces of

Louis XI., King of France, took the town of Arras in 1477, and this was
practically the death blow to the manufacture of tapestry at that place,
but immediately after this event Brussels under the Burgundian rule rose
to great prosperity. Artists and tapestry weavers flocked to Brussels,
which soon became a great centre of this industry. Designs were sent
from Italy by the Popes and other princes to be woven in tapestry, and
many of the best Italian and Flemish painters made designs for the
Brussels ateliers. Pope Leo X. had the tapestries—now in the
Vatican—from the celebrated cartoons by Raphael, made in Brussels. These
cartoons are now in the Kensington Museum. They were bought by Charles
I. from a tapestry manufactory of Brussels by the advice of Rubens.

Giulio Romano, the Italian painter, Lucas van Leyden, Bernard van Orley,
Jean Mabuse, and other artists of the Renaissance period, furnished
designs for Brussels tapestry.

Owing to the occupation of Flanders by the Spanish (1555-1648), the
palace at Madrid contains the most extensive collection of Flemish
tapestries in existence, which had been chiefly acquired during that

Tapestry making declined and was almost non-existent during the
religious wars of the sixteenth century, but was re-established and
became once more a flourishing industry in the seventeenth century, and
a decree was passed in 1647 for its support by the State.

The subjects of the storied tapestry were now of a more naturalistic
order: hunting scenes, landscapes, and rustic figures were woven from
the designs of the Dutch and Flemish painters of the period, and many of
the designs were copied from French tapestry.

The family of Pannemaker, celebrated at a former period in Brussels, set
up an important atelier in Lille about 1647, which remained in full
working order for about fifty years. Another well-known tapestry master
named Guillaume Werniers (1701-1738) executed many compositions designed
by Teniers.

Among the earliest tapestry manufactories in France was the one
established at Fontainebleau in the year 1539 by Francis I. It was
managed by Philibert Babou, the king’s architect, and Serlio, the
Italian architect and painter, designed some of the tapestries. The same
manufactory existed under Henri II., with Delorme for its director and
Ducerceau as the chief designer. Many tapestry weavers were attracted to
France from Flanders and Italy at this period, and a colony of Flemish
weavers who had settled in Paris were joined to the house of the
Gobelins—a long-established family of scarlet wool dyers—in the Faubourg
Saint Marcel in 1603. The house of the Gobelins had been under royal
patronage for some time previous to the year 1667, when it was bought by
Louis XIV. and henceforth became a royal monopoly.

Lebrun, the painter to the king, was appointed director. Some very heavy
and inappropriate compositions of this painter were copied in the
Gobelins tapestry, but besides these, many purely decorative and
ornamental designs with rich borders were also produced. This was a
period of great activity at the Gobelins factory, when nearly three
hundred workmen and artists were employed. Mignard was the successor of
Lebrun as director of the works (1690), then Mansard the architect.
After him came the Duc d’Antin as director (1708-36), and then M. de
Marigny, under whom many large paintings were reproduced in tapestry,
and smaller designs of Boucher and others. This celebrated factory, like
that of the Sèvres porcelain, still remains under State care and

Several other tapestry manufactories existed in Paris from the early
days of the Gobelins, and a new kind of tapestry-carpet called the
Savonnerie—a kind of velvet carpet made in imitation of the Oriental
Turkey-stitch, was introduced into France under the patronage of Henri
IV. (1580-1610), the looms being set up in the Louvre. This carpet
manufactory was united to the Gobelins factory in 1826.

At Beauvais a celebrated manufactory of low warp tapestry has been in
existence from early times, and though some of the Beauvais compositions
are equal to the high warp productions of the Gobelins, the work as a
rule consists of a smaller and more ornamental character of design.

Rheims, Aubusson, and Felletin have also been centres of the French
tapestry industry. Aubusson carpets and tapestry have been noted for
their soft and delicate textures, and have been used very much for
furniture upholstery.

Italy has produced some good storied tapestry in the sixteenth century
(Fig. 275), but has been more celebrated for its velvets, &c.

England has been content to import more tapestry than it has ever
manufactured, although many important works have been executed at
different times in this country. Probably the earliest piece of genuine
English tapestry is that which still adorns the old St. Mary’s Hall or
Council-chamber in Coventry, and may have been made in the fourteenth,
or early fifteenth, century.

In the laws of Edward IV. (1344) tapestry making is mentioned, and in
the reign of Henry VIII., and the year 1509, Sheldon and Hicks set up a
tapestry manufactory at Barcheston in Warwickshire.

[Illustration: Fig. 275.—Dismissal of Hagar and Ishmael by Abraham;
Italian Tapestry; Sixteenth Century.]

The most important tapestry works were those set up at Mortlake, near
London, in the reign of James I., by Francis Crane, and which were
liberally supported by James and his son Charles I. During the reign of
the latter monarch the Mortlake works furnished a great many important
hangings for the royal palaces of Windsor, Hampton Court, Greenwich, and
St. James’s, among which were the reproductions of the celebrated
cartoons of Raphael, which Charles I. had purchased from Brussels. Some
of these tapestries are now preserved in the “Garde Meuble” at Paris.
Mythological subjects, framed with rich borders, were designed by
Francis Cheyne, a native of Saxony, who was the principal artist
employed at the Mortlake works. During the wars of the Commonwealth the
factory was closed, but was re-opened at the Restoration of Charles II.,
who passed some Acts for the encouragement of English tapestry making,
and put restrictions on the great importations of foreign tapestries.
The latter king employed Verrio the painter to make designs for the
Mortlake textiles. On the death of Francis Crane, the founder, in 1703,
the works were finally closed.

Unimportant tapestry works were in existence at Soho and Fulham about
the middle of the eighteenth century. Another attempt at tapestry
weaving was made by a French Protestant refugee named Passavant, who
established a factory at Exeter about the end of the seventeenth
century, and of late years there has been an attempt made to carry on
tapestry weaving at Windsor under the patronage of Her Majesty.

Some excellent work, equal if not superior to some of the best Flemish
tapestry, has been successfully made by William Morris from the designs
of Sir Edward Burne-Jones.

England has given great attention to the manufacture of low warp
carpets, in which she is only excelled by some of the best products of
Oriental looms. The manufacture of printed and woven carpets now forms
one of the most important factors in the national prosperity of England.
Brussels carpets are now made chiefly at Kidderminster; originally they
were made at Wilton. Axminster and Kidderminster carpets are made in
Glasgow, Wilton, and Kilmarnock, and Wilton carpets in Yorkshire.

Turkey carpets are imported chiefly from Smyrna. Persia, India, and
Tunis are still great centres of the Eastern carpet industry. The
carpets from these places are in great request in Europe for their
beauty of colour and design and for their great wearing qualities.

Carpets were originally used as _portières_, table and couch coverings,
but have gradually become coverings for floors, owing to their cheapened
cost of production.


Hand-made laces are divided into two great classes—the “needle-point”
and the “pillow-made”; the former is made with a needle on parchment,
and the latter by twisting or plaiting threads from bobbins on a pillow.

Needle-point lace is an offspring of embroidery, and pillow-made lace is
the highest artistic development of twisted and plaited threads. The
foundation lines or threads of the pattern, various kinds of grounds,
and the edging in needle-point lace, are usually worked over with a
button-hole stitch in the ordinary course of making, while this
distinguishing feature of needle-point lace is absent in the pillow-made

The earliest forms of lace were known as “lacis,” or darned netting, and
a species of embroidery called “cutwork.” One kind of cutwork consisted
in cutting, vandyking, or scalloping the edges of collars, cuffs, or
garments into various shapes, and overcasting the edges with the
button-hole stitch; another kind was when an embroidered design was
wrought on stretched network, and the pattern wrought in looped stitches
with the needle. This was the transitional form between embroidery and
lace work.

“Lacis,” or darned netting, was worked in regulated stitches on a ground
formed in squares, called “reseuil,” and sometimes it was formed of
pieces of linen cut out and applied to the net. Ornamental open-work of
cut linen and other material embroidered with silks of various colours,
gold and silver threads, and woollen yarns, were made before the
sixteenth century. All these varieties, though akin to lace work,
required some kind of a foundation, but lace consists of a combination
of threads alone, and has no foundation.

Pattern-books were published in Venice of designs for “cutworks” and
embroidery of all kinds as early as 1527, and later, in 1531, a book was
published by Tagliente, giving the descriptions and methods employed for
making the various stitches used in embroidery for hangings, costumes,
and altar-cloths. Some of the geometric designs in this book have been
used for point-lace patterns. The term used by the Italians, _punto in
aere (aria)_, or “point in air,” is thought by Mr. Alan Cole to mean
needle-point lace. The geometric design (Fig. 276) of Genoese point is
something very much akin to the _punto in aria_ patterns.

[Illustration: Fig. 276.—Genoese Point Lace.]

At Antwerp and Cologne, and other cities in Germany and Flanders,
imitations of the Venetian pattern-books were published, which served
the lace makers of those countries for their patterns.

The Flemish lace workers imitated to a great extent the Venetian
patterns, and in later years those of the French.

Lace is made in silk, cotton, flax, and sometimes in gold and silver
thread, aloe-fibre, and hair.

In the early kinds of lace the pattern was united by single threads
covered with button-hole stitch, and edged with little loops, the
flowers or pattern made of compact “clothing,” or woven threads (Fig.
277D), and the ground in its simplest variety by meshes made by plaiting
(Fig. 277A), as in the Brussels and Honiton four-thread ground, or in
other varieties, by simple twisting (Fig. 277B).

The ground or mesh (_réseau_) is usually hexagonal, and is worked
together with the pattern in the Valenciennes, Mechlin, and Buckingham
laces, but in the Brussels and Honiton the ground is worked in
afterwards, or the pattern is sewn on. Other fancy grounds or “fillings”
are called “modes” or “brides,” which consist of little ties ornamented
with “picots” or small loops (see Figs. 280, 284). A more elaborate form
of fillings may be seen in the Brussels and Alençon lappets (Figs. 278,
279); in the latter may be seen lozenges and flat hexagons of a solid
character set in frames of hexagons and on the intersections of the
squares. This groundwork has been termed _réseau-rosacé_.

[Illustration: Fig. 277.—A, Brussels ground; B, Two-thread Mesh; D,
Woven Ground.]

The outline around the pattern in some laces is called the “cordonnet”;
it is an important feature of the Alençon point lace (Fig. 279), where
it consists of a horsehair overcast with a button-hole stitch of thread;
it is also a distinctive mark of the pillow-made Mechlin lace (Fig.
283), but never occurs in the true or _vraie_ Valenciennes.

[Illustration: Fig. 278.—Lappet; Brussels; Eighteenth Century.]

The oldest of white hand-made laces is the Italian needle-point variety,
which is a development of embroidery. It is difficult to give the exact
date of the invention of needle-point lace, for in the earliest
specimens of Italian work, in which the patterns are copied from the
geometric designs of the Venetian pattern-books, they are usually a
mixture of needle-point and of plaited and twisted work, but the latter
may have been done with a hooked needle, and not pillow-made. On the
other hand, before point lace was so universally made by the Venetians,
the pattern-books were published about the middle of the sixteenth
century for _merletti a piombini_, or “lace made with leaden
bobbins”—probably a species of pillow-made lace—and some Italian work of
this kind is still in existence that is quite as early in date as that
of the oldest needlepoint variety. This would prove that there was
little or no difference in the age of either invention, although perhaps
priority ought to be given to the needle-point variety.

[Illustration: Fig. 279.—Lappet; Point d’Alençon; Eighteenth Century.]

Guipure is a name that has been given to lace in which the flowers are
united with ties or “brides picotees” (Fig. 280), but the term guipure
is more properly a kind of filigree work made with stiffened cords like
gimp or wire, the pattern being formed of gimp bent into a flattened
design by the needle, and united where the forms touch each other (Fig.

The patterns in the early laces were, as we have seen, purely geometric
forms, such as squares with circles enclosed, divided by radiating lines
and diagonals, rosettes, lozenges, and small trimming borders of
rectangular panels, all worked on foundation lines that resembled in
some degree the main lines of a spider’s web.

By degrees these patterns developed into a more solid massing of the
flower forms, and the ties, or brides, became more irregular, but at the
same time more evenly distributed.

Sometimes, as in Venetian point lace, the brides had little flowers
worked on them, and in many instances the larger forms were raised to a
considerable height or thickness. The groundwork in some of the scroll
designs of Venetian point laces is composed of regular hexagons, and
this was the starting-point of the future hexagonal mesh grounds.

[Illustration: Fig. 280.—Guipure; Flemish; Seventeenth Century.]

Raised scroll work is peculiar to the Venetian point laces of the best
period—the end of the seventeenth century.

Flemish lace was mostly of the pillow-made variety, but some point work
was also executed, principally at Brussels. Mechlin, Lille, and
Valenciennes were all famous for their pillow-made laces.

Returning to the development of patterns in lace, we find that France
led the way in design from the early years of the eighteenth century.
Prior to this time, Colbert, the Minister of Louis XIV.—whose
far-sightedness in the matters of art did so much for France—succeeded
in establishing lace-making centres at Alençon, Argentan, Quesnoy,
Arras, Rheims, &c., and the patterns of lace then in favour partook of
the prevailing style of Louis-Quatorze ornament with a mixture of floral
forms, more or less realistic in character (Fig. 279). The latter
illustration is that of a lappet of “point d’Alençon” fabric, which is
the most elaborate and most expensive of all French laces. Another
French point lace is that known as “point d’Argentan,” and if not a
variety of Alençon lace, is very much like it. This lace is noted for
its clear and strong-meshed ground.

[Illustration: Fig. 281.—Guipure Lace; Italian; Seventeenth Century.]

Valenciennes lace, made in the French town of that name, is one of the
oldest pillow-made laces, dating from the fifteenth century; the best
Valenciennes, however, has been made at Yprès, and is a very soft and
flat variety of fabric, with the meshes plaited, not twisted, has no
cordonnet around the edges, and is very floral in design. “Fausse”
Valenciennes is an irregular and slightly coarser variety than the
“vraie” or true Valenciennes. Mechlin lace is similar in design to
Valenciennes, but has the cordonnet outline, and has the meshes of the
ground partly twisted and partly plaited (Fig. 283).

Lille and Arras laces have fine single grounds: four of the six sides of
the mesh are formed by the twisting of two threads, and the other two
sides by simply crossing the threads. Lille was formerly famous for its
black straight-edged laces. Chantilly laces were made in white and black
silk, but now similar black silk laces are made at Bayeux in Normandy,
and at Auvergne, an old-established centre. Laces are now made in all
kinds of materials.

[Illustration: Fig. 282.—Finest Raised Venetian Point.]

Brussels lace has always been a much-prized variety: it is made both in
the “_point à l’aiguille_” or needle-point, and in “_point plat_” or
pillow-made, and sometimes it is a mixture of both, where the flowers
are made separate in needle-point and are worked in afterwards to the
various “modes” and mesh or net grounds. The Brussels mesh is peculiar
in having two of its hexagonal sides longer than the other four, the
former two being plaited with four threads, while the latter four are
composed of a two-thread twist, and the cordonnet is well raised around
the pattern and is plaited. The patterns in Brussels lace are of all
kinds, but are chiefly imitations of French designs; it is a common
thing to find Alençon and other French patterns copied in this lace. In
France, Brussels lace was known by the name of “point d’Angleterre,”
from the fact that great quantities of it were imported, and also
smuggled into England during its prohibited importation in the
lace-weaving period of Charles II.

[Illustration: Fig. 283.—Border of Mechlin Lace.]

Ancient Spanish point-lace was like the Venetian raised work, but much
of the so-called Spanish lace was really Flemish, and was largely
imported from the Spanish Netherlands.

Honiton in Devonshire, and Buckinghamshire are the chief centres of the
lace making in England. Honiton lace is pillow-made, and is similar to
Brussels in fabrication, the designs of which were originally sprigs of
flowers, but have developed to a kind of guipure work held together by
“brides” (Fig. 284).

[Illustration: Fig. 284.—Honiton; Modern.]

Buckinghamshire lace is also pillow-made, and resembles Flemish lace in
design, but is a little more irregular and weaker in drawing.

Irish lace is known under the name of Carrickmacross—a kind of cut linen
work; Limerick—a species of embroidery; and point lace, made in Ulster
and elsewhere in Ireland (Fig. 285).

Many efforts have been made in recent years to revive the Irish
lace-making industry, which have been attended with a good measure of
success, particularly in the schools attached to the convents.

A great modern revival of lace making has taken place in the island of
Burano, near Venice, which dates from the year 1872. This is due to the
energy and ability of Madame Bellario, assisted by the patronage of the
Queen of Italy and other members of the royal family. The variety made
is the needle-point, and the designs are mostly good copies of the old
Venetian and seventeenth-century French patterns.

[Illustration: Fig. 285.—Irish Point; Modern.]

Machine-made lace has been brought to an advanced state of perfection,
and Nottingham in England, where the first machines were set up, is now
the great centre of this industry. The machine on which lace is made is
a development of the stocking-knitting machine, and lace nets were first
made on these machines about 1770. Heathcote, of Nottingham, invented
the bobbin net machine, and Leaver invented the lace machine which is
still in use with various improvements and modifications. Almost any
kind of lace can now be imitated by the machine, but it is easily
distinguished from the hand-made varieties by the greater regularity of
texture, the absence in the machine-made point lace of any imitation of
the button-hole stitch and of the elaborate plaiting that is found in
the pillow hand-made laces.

                              CHAPTER VII.

The word mosaic is applied generally to a decorative work executed with
small cubes or tesseræ made from various coloured marbles or enamels,
cut into convenient sizes according to the requirements or scale of the

These cubes of enamels or marbles are placed in a bed of cement which is
first spread on the surface of the wall or panel. The composition of
this cement has varied in the different periods and countries and
according to the nature of the ground which receives it.

The Italian method is to spread on the wall a thick coating of mastic
cement composed of marble dust or powdered stone, lime, and linseed oil;
when this cement is partly set a coating of fine plaster is laid on the
top and brought up to the level of the intended surface of the mosaic;
the design is traced on this surface, and the plaster is then cut away
with a fine small chisel, little by little, just sufficient at a time to
receive a small quantity of the tesseræ or cubes, which are first dipped
in moist cement and inserted in their proper places, matching the colour
copied from the cartoon. When the work is finished the surface is
brought to a uniform level by a polishing process.

Some of the earlier kinds of mosaic were composed of pieces of marble or
other stones cut in geometric slabs or rectangular shapes; this kind was
called by the Romans _lithostratum_, and was used chiefly in pavements;
_opus sectile_ is a kind of pavement mosaic made of different colours,
the marbles being cut into small regular portions; _opus tesselatum_ is
a variety of the _opus sextile_, but has its component parts made of
geometric forms in which straight and parallel lines predominate in the
design; and _opus vermiculatum_ has its tesseræ composed of small cubes
or bits of enamel (glass mosaic), terra-cotta, or marble, which are cut
into all kinds of shapes, so as to form a more pliant or softer contour
to the proposed design. This latter variety is used in picture mosaics
and in the goldsmiths’ work and jewellery made at the present time in
Rome and Venice.

Another kind of mosaic used in pavement is that known as _opus
Alexandrinum_. Large slabs of different coloured marbles have been used
as floor pavements and as wall linings, both on the exterior and in the
interior of churches and other buildings in Italy and elsewhere. Most of
this work is of a geometric pattern; the different pieces of stone,
marble, terra-cotta, or enamel, being cut into exact shapes to fit a
preconceived pattern, form a species of inlay, and do not therefore come
under the head of a true mosaic. Coloured marbles and precious stones
have been used in the decoration of furniture by the Italians and
French, which is known by the name of “Florentine mosaic,” or “pietra

A species of mosaic work resembling enamels in appearance was executed
by the Egyptians, a method in which stones and coloured pastes were cut
to fit into metal shapes, as may be seen in the pectoral ornaments and
diadems (see Figs. 142, 143, former volume).

In the Museum of Turin there is an Egyptian sarcophagus inlaid with
precious stones, but it can hardly be called true mosaic work.

The Greeks were very skilful in mosaic, and were doubtless the inventors
of the enamels used by themselves and by the Romans afterwards under the
name of _musivum_—from whence the word mosaic is derived. The Italians
called these enamels _smalto_ or smalts.

Nearly all the remains of antique mosaic that have been preserved to our
days have been executed in Italy or in countries that were under the
Roman sway, but usually the work has been done by Greek artists or under
Grecian influence.

[Illustration: Fig. 286.—Roman Mosaic, from Woodchester.]

Pliny mentions the name of Sosus, a Greek artist, who came to Italy to
execute mosaics. To this artist is ascribed the celebrated mosaic of the
doves perched on the rim of a basin—_Cantharos_—one of which is drinking
from the water in the vessel. This mosaic is now in the Capitol at Rome,
and came originally from the Villa of Hadrian. It is related by Pliny
that Sosus made a floor in mosaic decorated with fragments of a repast,
such as realistic representations of the remains of bones, vegetables,
fish, a mouse gnawing at a nut, &c.

Great pavements, with all kinds of animated figures, both realistic and
fanciful, representing combats of animals, fighting gladiators, circus
and hunting scenes, with the figures sometimes of life size, in
combination with allegorical subjects, tritons, nereids, and other
marine deities, were common in the antique period in Italy.

[Illustration: Fig. 287.—Roman Mosaic, found at Avignon.]

These great pavements were usually found enclosed in frames or borders
composed of ornament, or of smaller designs of birds, fishes, and marine
animals. The borders, however, are often modern work, and are generally
restorations or additions. Besides being found at Rome and other places
in Italy, these large Roman mosaics have been found at almost every
place that was formerly a Roman province.

Many good examples have been discovered in France, chiefly in the
Basses-Pyrénées, and in England, at Woodchester, Withington in
Gloucestershire, London, and other places (Figs. 286, 287).

The Roman mosaics executed in the provinces were, however, of a ruder
kind than those found at Rome and at other places in Italy (Fig. 288).

[Illustration: Fig. 288.—Ancient Roman Mosaic.]

In the Græco-Roman collection at the British Museum may be seen
representations of colossal figures in mosaic from Carthage, and a floor
pavement 40 feet by 12 feet from Halicarnassos. One of the most
important examples of Roman mosaic was found in the seventeenth century
in the Temple of Fortune at Palestrina—the ancient Praeneste. It
represents landscape scenes placed in superimposed sections, through
which runs a river, supposed by some authorities to represent the mouth
of the Nile; islands are represented on which are monuments, temples,
trees, farms, climbing plants, animals, and figures engaged in
agricultural and hunting pursuits. The animals depicted are chiefly
those which are native to Egypt; besides these there are some fantastic
creatures represented common to the mythology of that country, as well
as to Greece and Rome; the inscriptions and names of the animals are
rendered in Greek characters, Greek being the official language used at
that period in Egypt and at the Court in Rome, as well as being the
native language of the artists who executed the work. All this goes to
strengthen the opinion formed by the Abbé Barthélemy, in opposition to
others, that this great mosaic picture represents the voyage of the
Emperor Hadrian on the Upper Nile, through Egypt, to the Elephantine

Mosaic pavements with subjects of combats of lions and bulls in a savage
landscape, executed in the same manner as the Palestrina mosaic, have
been found at Pompeii in the ruins of Hadrian’s Villa, a building which
he had constructed in imitation of the various styles of architecture of
the different countries which he had visited.

A celebrated mosaic, of a much higher and earlier order of art, is the
representation of the Battle of Arbela, or Issus, now preserved in the
Naples Museum. This battle was fought between the Greek and Persian
forces in the year 331 (B.C.), in which Alexander the Great was
victorious over Darius the Persian. Alexander is represented on
horseback in the act of throwing his lance at a Persian satrap;
horsemen, chariots, and foot soldiers are all represented with great
vigour and in correct drawing; the whole composition is excellent, and
represents the Greek army in the decisive moment of victory.

This great work was found in the House of the Faun at Pompeii in the
year 1830, and is immeasurably superior to anything of its kind hitherto
found in that buried city. It has, no doubt, been a copy in mosaic of a
picture or fresco painted by a Greek artist. Important portions of the
work are missing, but enough remains to testify to the beauty and
greatness of this monument of Grecian art. Fig. 289 represents the head
of a Persian soldier in the mosaic.

A border was found with this work which represents a river with
alligators, hippopotami, aquatic birds, and river plants, all disposed
in a careless manner; this border is evidently a later Roman addition to
the work.

Another antique mosaic picture in the Museum at Naples is the seated
figure of the tragic poet found in a house at Pompeii.

Fountains, columns, dados, wall panels, as well as floor decorations,
were common objects of mosaic treatment with the Romans, and many houses
of the better classes at Pompeii have been lavishly decorated with this
imperishable material. A singular peculiarity was the almost exclusive
representation of the human figure on floors, while the wall spaces only
received ornamental compositions.

[Illustration: Fig. 289.—Head in Mosaic, from the “Battle of Issus.”]

It appears from this that the Romans never thoroughly understood the
true value of mosaic as a means of architectural decoration, and it was
not until about the fourth century of our era that the walls and vaults
of churches at Rome were treated with pictorial mosaic. For a long time
in Italy the character of the design was strongly influenced by the old
classic traditions, which impregnated the germs of the early Christian
art of the catacombs of S. Calixtus and S. Agnese (see Figs. 332, 333,
former vol.). This influence hardly ever passed away from the works of
Italian artists, for down to the sixteenth century there has been many
examples of church decoration in which a mixture of Pagan and Christian
elements are found.

The remaining mosaics of the central cupola in the church of S.
Constance at Rome consist of a Pagan composition—the “Triumph of
Bacchus”—worked out in the Roman style, and another vaulted compartment
in the same church has a mosaic decoration consisting of a vine
spreading over the whole surface, amongst the branches and leaves of
which are children gathering the grapes. At two of the sides are
grape-laden waggons drawn by oxen, and figures pressing out the grape
juice in the vats. From the subjects of the mosaics in this building it
was formerly thought to be a temple of Bacchus; but as the vine is one
of the commonest symbols of the Christian faith, and as a mixture of
Christian and Pagan elements was a very common occurrence in the age of
Constantine, there is no hesitation in describing these mosaics, and the
church itself, as early Christian work.

A very important mosaic of the fourth century still exists in the apse
of the Church of S. Pudentia at Rome. The design is not altered from the
original, but much of the work has been restored at different times.

A colossal figure of Christ is enthroned in the centre of a composition
which has an architectural background of temples and churches. St. Peter
and St. Paul are represented on either side of the central figure, with
other sacred personages, and above in the clouds float the sacred
emblems of the Evangelists.

After Constantine removed the seat of his empire from Rome to Byzantium
(330) mosaic decoration was used in many of the Eastern churches in
Macedonia and other places in the Byzantine empire, but it was not until
the sixth century that the decided Byzantine Greek style was developed
in mosaic work—notably in the mosaics of the great church of Santa
Sophia. During the fifth century at Rome, and more especially at
Ravenna, the basilicas and Christian churches were decorated on the
vaulted ceilings, walls, arches, and spandrels with mosaics, of which
the general design and ornamental details were still strongly influenced
with the spirit of the antique; but although these works retained much
of the dignity pertaining to the latter, they were gradually losing the
correctness of drawing which had characterised the mosaics of the fourth

In the chapter on Early Christian Architecture, in the former volume of
this work, pages 288-300, we have drawn attention to some of these

The church of Santa Sophia was burned down in 533, and the rebuilding of
it was finished and the church consecrated in 559. Much of the interior
was shortly afterwards covered with mosaic decoration. Near the summit
of the cupola was a colossal figure of Christ enthroned, with his arm
raised upwards in the act of blessing; below the sacred figure were
ranged the Apostles, and in the lower pendentives were groups of people.
In the chancel below is a figure of the Virgin enthroned, with the
Infant Christ standing on her knees; in the great niches are figures of
martyrs and bishops, and in the spaces above the pillars figures of the

On the walls of the narthex, Christ is represented seated on a throne,
the crowned figure of Justinian prostrate at his feet, and on the gold
background are the heads of the Virgin and St. Michael. In colour the
mosaics are sober and refined, the expressions and attitudes of the
figures solemn, and often beautiful; the costumes follow the style of
the antique.

According to Salzenberg, who published his great work on Santa Sophia at
Berlin in the year 1854, the colouring of the draperies of Christ and
his Apostles is white, the Virgin has blue robes, and the other figures
of prophets, angels, and martyrs are in varied colouring. The shades of
the folds in the draperies are expressed by quiet blues and greens, the
lights being heightened by silver markings. All the mosaics have a
ground of gold, and bands of gold enrich the garments of Christ.
Although many of the great mosaics of this church belong to the sixth
century, some of them are, however, works of a later period. Among other
arts, Justinian encouraged mosaic decoration in the highest degree, and
is said to have ornamented the palace of his capital with mosaic
pictures representing the victories of his armies.

Some famous mosaics were executed during the sixth century at
Ravenna, notably in the basilicas of S. Apollinare-Nuovo, S.
Apollinare-in-Classe, and S. Vitale; in the former there is a fine
mosaic, the subject being the Kiss of Judas, and a group of figures
where Pontius Pilate is represented washing his hands after the
trial of Christ, both of which works again show the antique

In the beautiful basilica of S. Apollinare-in-Classe the figure of
Christ is represented standing and blessing with uplifted hands,
surrounded by the symbols of the Evangelists and a flock of sheep; the
angels Gabriel and Michael and the Transfiguration are also represented.

The Church of S. Vitale, which was built somewhat after the model of
Santa Sophia, has the celebrated mosaics representing processions in
state of the Emperor Justinian and the Empress Theodora, who presided at
the dedication of the church. The dresses of the principal personages in
these mosaics are richly decorated with Byzantine geometric patterns,
figured embroidery, and jewellery. In the apse of the church is the
celebrated youthful figure of Christ, who is represented without a
beard; it is remarkable for its benign expression and softness of its
adolescent beauty. The mosaics of S. Vitale are distinctly Greek in
character, unlike those of the two former churches, which were executed
by Roman mosaicists brought from Italy to Ravenna by Theodoric the
Ostrogoth in the early years of the sixth century.

The seventh century was almost barren in mosaic works, and the eighth
century does not seem to have produced more than a few tentative
efforts, mainly in countries outside Italy.

It is related that Adrian I., who was Pope between the years 772-795,
gave permission to Charlemagne to remove several mosaics from churches
at Ravenna, the materials of which were used in the decoration of the
dome of his chapel at Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle). These mosaics were
destroyed by fires in the years 1656 and 1730. Some drawings of them
were made before the second fire by Ciampini, and published by him at
Rome in 1699. These works were not, however, of any great artistic
value. The art of the mosaicist was fast becoming only a caricature of
its former self, for the work of the ninth century was characterized by
exceedingly bad drawing and savage colouring. Uninviting and even
terrible representations of Christ, of the Virgin, angels, martyrs, and
prophets were only too common. It may be said with good reason that in
Rome and in the West during the ninth century, that the zenith of
ugliness had been attained in the design of mosaics, and in place of the
careful grouping and correct drawing of the works of the fourth to the
sixth century we have instead figures of great dimensions and
multiplication of attributes.

At the time we speak of there was not this decadence of art in the
Eastern Empire, for many fine mosaics were executed to the order of
Basil the Macedonian (867-886), under whose protection art generally was
much encouraged. Some of the mosaics of Santa Sophia and of other
churches and palaces at Constantinople were executed during this period.

However, from the tenth to the twelfth centuries the art of mosaic
decoration, with a few notable exceptions, was in a slow state of
decadence in the East, but the old Greek artistic spirit broke in other
and in new directions, as we have witnessed in the wealth of Byzantine
enamels, carved ivories, bas-reliefs, repoussé work, miniatures, and
illuminated manuscripts.

In the eleventh century some fine mosaic floors were executed in France.
Examples of this date were found in the old churches of Sordes in the
Department of Landes, and of Lescar in the Basses-Pyrénées. Some of
these pavements have ornamental compositions of geometrical interlacings
and conventional foliage, and others have hunting scenes in which
animals, figures, and birds are treated flatly, after the Persian or
Oriental manner of inlaid work or like textile designs.

In the thirteenth century towards the latter end, in the dawn of the
Renaissance, design in mosaic began to feel the reviving influence in
common with all Italian art. In the mosaics of this century executed at
Rome we see something of the poetry and dignity which belonged to the
great works of the fifth century. This turning-point was in a great
measure due to the influence of Cimabue, the founder of Italian painting
(1240-1300), who was then a great personality in Italian art.

The most important mosaics of this period in Italy were those which
decorate the tribune of the basilica of St. John Lateran at Rome,
executed by Jacobus Toriti between the years 1287 and 1292, and those of
the tribune of S. Maria Maggiore in Rome, executed also by Toriti during
the last few years of the thirteenth century and finished about 1302.

The design of the former mosaics is simple in arrangement. On a gold
ground, symmetrically arranged, are the figures of six saints and
Apostles, with smaller figures of St. Francis and St. Anthony of Padua
advancing towards a central cross, from underneath which flows the four
rivers of Paradise into the Jordan beneath. Above is the celebrated head
of Christ, the face having a benign expression. This was formerly
supposed to be of an older creation, but it is quite likely to have been
designed by Toriti. The head is surrounded by a plain gold nimbus, and
around and above it, on a blue ground with clouds, is a glory of angels
in the form of an arc. Below this, on the wall of the tribune, between
pointed window openings, Christ and the Apostles are represented on a
smaller scale.

In the tribune of S. Maria Maggiore the design is grander and more
decorative than the St. John Lateran mosaics, and indeed ranks as the
finest work of art of its period. In a large central medallion of the
apse Christ and the Virgin are enthroned, Christ being represented in
the act of crowning the Virgin. A crowd of angels are on either side and
at the lower parts of the medallion. The ground of the latter is blue,
sown with golden stars; beyond, on either side of the adoring angels,
are the upright figures of Apostles and saints on a gold ground, and
above them, filling the upper surrounding space, are conventional vines
in whose scrolly branches birds of various kinds are found. Below this
composition the River Jordan is represented, and the walls of the
tribune are occupied with small compositions representing scenes in the
life of Christ. In the loggia of the same church are a series of
well-designed mosaics inscribed with the name of the artist who designed
them—Philippus Rusuti—who is not known with certainty to have executed
any other work. They had been formerly ascribed to the Florentine
mosaicist Gaddo Gaddi, a friend of Cimabue; he died in 1312.

Gaddi, according to Vasari, had been invited to Rome to complete the
unfinished mosaics of Toriti at the Church of S. Maria Maggiore after
the death of the latter artist, and he occupied himself with the storied
mosaics representing the foundation of that church in a series of four
compositions. It is still, however, a matter of doubt as to how much of
these mosaics belong to the hand of Rusuti or Gaddi. The latter artist
executed some subjects in the dome of the Baptistery at Florence, in the
Cathedral of Pisa, and the mosaics which decorate the inner lunette in
the portal of the Cathedral at Florence.

[Illustration: Fig. 290.—Geometric Mosaic, Church of Ara Cœli, Rome.]

Gaddi followed the style and aims of Cimabue; his work was poetic in
conception, and in his execution he leaned to the Byzantine methods, but
in drawing and composition he was greatly excelled by the Roman
mosaicist Toriti.

The celebrated Roman family of the Cosmati were excellent mosaicists.
Giovanni Cosmato, son of the elder artist of that name, executed some
fine work on the tomb of Gonsalo Roderigo in the Church of S. Maria
Maggiore, and on monuments in S. Maria sopra Minerva. A variety of
mosaic was much used in Italy at different times, the earliest dating
from the sixth century, which consisted in decorating pulpits, screens,
and small altars with a geometric inlay of small squares and lozenges of
gold and coloured tesseræ which were inserted into grooves of white
marble (Fig. 290).

About the year 1351, Pietro Cavallini, a native of Rome and a supposed
pupil of the painter Giotto, was commissioned to execute some mosaics in
the Church of S. Maria Transtevere at Rome. The design and style of
these works were strongly influenced if not partly copied from the
frescoes of Giotto in the Arena Chapel at Padua.

Cavallini also executed in mosaic the celebrated Navicella, from the
design by Giotto, which decorates the vestibule of the old basilica
church of St. Peter’s at Rome. This work represents a ship in which the
Apostles are seen, and Christ and Peter are figured walking on the sea.

With the exception of a few notable works in St. Peter’s at Rome, in St.
Mark’s at Venice, some unfinished work of Domenico Ghirlandaio
(1449-95), and the work of Pesselli in the Church of Or-San-Michele at
Florence (1416), the fifteenth century was not a prosperous period for
mosaic. This is accounted for by the rapid development of the Italian
schools of painting, which advanced during this century with incredible
swiftness, and as painting advanced, mosaic decoration retreated before
its more popular rival. The mosaicist had to make room for the fresco
painter, who soon became the successful competitor of the former in the
work of church decoration.

Regarding the mosaics of St. Mark’s at Venice, it may be stated that
they date from the eleventh century to the nineteenth.

The interior of this church is richly decorated on the vaults and upper
parts of the walls with mosaics on grounds of gold, the other parts are
covered with various rich marbles, and the floor is mosaic designed in
the Byzantine style. In the twelfth century the principal apse, the
cupola of the choir, and some of the chapels were decorated in mosaic.
The great central cupola has mosaics of the eleventh century
representing the _Virtues_, and twelfth-century work with the subjects
of the “Virgin with Angels and Apostles,” the “Evangelists,” &c. To the
same century belong the mosaics in the cupola of the choir, consisting
of the figures of Christ, the Virgin, David and Solomon, and symbols of
the Evangelists; the figure of St. Clement in the vault of the terminal
chapel of St. Clement is ascribed to the twelfth century, and the
mosaics of this chapel representing the life of the saint are
thirteenth-century work.

The most important mosaic of the latter century in St. Mark’s is that
which decorates the façade, the subject being “The Dedication of the

From the remains of the original mosaics which have not been remodelled
by the restorers of later times, it has been seen that the work of the
above centuries at St. Mark’s kept to the spirit and traditions of the
Byzantine school. The work of restoration, however, has been so great in
modern times that nearly all the mosaics belonging to a date prior to
the sixteenth century have been executed afresh, so it can hardly be
said there are any perfect or genuine Byzantine mosaics left.

Those of the sixteenth century in St. Mark’s are more like paintings in
their general effect than monumental works for the decoration of the
fabric. Pictorial effect and an appeal to the emotional faculties were
aimed at by the artists and governing body of the church, rather than
simplicity or a feeling for the decorative fitness of the material. The
painters Titian, Pordenone, Tintoret, Paul Veronese, and the sculptor
and architect Sansovino made designs for the mosaics, and their cartoons
were interpreted by mosaicists, the principal of whom were Vicenzo and
Domenico Bianchini, the brothers Zuccati, Bozza, Rizzo, Gaëtano, &c.

In this century, at Rome, in the cupola of the Chigi Chapel in S. Maria
del Popolo, a celebrated mosaic was executed by the Venetian mosaicist
Luigi da Pace, from a design by the great painter Raphael. It bears the
date 1516, and has for its subject the Creation of the World. The
Almighty is represented surrounded by seraphim, and in eight
compartments are mythological figures representing the planets. Angel
figures of great beauty are seated on the signs of the Zodiac, which
occupy the lower parts of the mosaic.

During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the principal mosaics
executed in Italy were those which decorate the Church of St. Peter’s at
Rome. In these periods the Pontifical fabrique or studio for the
production of the smalto and for the execution of the mosaics was in a
state of activity. The fabrique had various locations in the vicinity of
the church from the time of its establishment in 1528, and was finally
set up in the Vatican in 1825 by Leo XIII. The most important period in
the history of the Pontifical ateliers was during the early half of the
eighteenth century, when it was under the direction of Pierre-Paul
Cristofari, who was assisted in the production of the variously coloured
material by the chemist Mattioli.

The mosaics which cover the cupolas, the altars of the various chapels,
the pendentines, tympani, and other spaces, have been executed by
mosaicists who were not the designers of the subjects.

This was the general practice in the Renaissance periods. One noteworthy
exception to this rule may be noticed in the work of the artist Muziano
de Brescia, who executed the mosaics of the Gregorian Chapel at St.
Peter’s from his own designs, for which work he received the commission
from Pope Gregory XIII. (1572-1585). Muziano was an imitator of
Michelangelo, and is best known by his work in mosaic. As a rule the
mosaics of St. Peter’s, like all those of the Renaissance period, are
not to be compared for dignity and repose with those of the early
Christian era, nor did they fulfil the true aim of monumental wall
decoration, but sought rather to imitate as closely as possible the
finish of oil or fresco painting. The “Transfiguration” after Raphael is
not a success as a mosaic. It is believed to have been executed by
Cristofari from a drawing enlarged from the original by Stefano Pozzi

In the great cupola the mosaic has for its subject “The Eternal Father,”
surrounded by cherubims. In other compartments are angels in adoration,
cherubims, Jesus, Mary, John the Baptist, Paul, the twelve Apostles and
their attributes. These mosaics are from designs by the Chevalier
d’Arpin (1560-1640), and rank among the best works of their kind in St.

In the present century there has been some noted revivals of mosaic
decoration in France and in England.

During the first thirty years of this century a royal manufactory was
set up in Paris under the superintendence of Belloni, an Italian artist
who came from the Pontifical atelier of Rome. Mosaic work of all kinds
was executed at this studio, such as miniatures, pictures, and
_pietra-dura_, or Florentine mosaic, for the encrusted decoration of
furniture, as well as important works for pavements, which were designed
in the classical style of the period. The principal work of Belloni is
the pavement of the “Salle Melpomène” in the Louvre. It is a composition
divided into five compartments, each having figure subjects, and has an
extremely rich border of frets, foliage, and rosettes.

Some fine mosaics of a more recent date are the decorations of the
_foyer_ and other parts of the Grand Opera House in Paris, executed from
the designs of M. Charles Garnier, the architect of the building, M. de
Curzon, and others, by the mosaicists Salviati and Facchina of Venice.

The new cathedrals at Marseilles and Lyons have been recently decorated
with mosaics more or less in the style of the Ravenna work of the fifth
century, but the principal part of these works consists of ornamental
compositions, such as doves with olive-branches, monograms, stars, and
borders of romanesque ornament. Some still more recent work is the
decoration of the apse of the Pantheon in Paris, from the designs of M.
E. Hébert and the late M. Galland, who furnished the ornamental designs.

In England, during the present half of this century, there has been
several attempts to popularise mosaic decoration. Full-length figures of
the chief ancient and modern sculptors, painters, and architects have
been designed by Lord Leighton, Sir E. J. Poynter, E. Armitage, V.
Prinsep, W. F. Yeames, F. W. Moody, and others; these have been executed
in glass mosaic and in English ceramic mosaic, and form part of the
decoration of the South Court in the Kensington Museum.

In the Houses of Parliament a mosaic has been executed from the design,
“St. George,” by Sir E. J. Poynter; and other examples are the mosaics
on the monument to Prince Albert designed by Sir Gilbert Scott.

But the most important efforts during the last few years are the mosaic
decorations in St. Paul’s Cathedral.

From the year 1863 until 1892 the eight spandrels of the dome were
filled with mosaics, the subjects being the four Evangelists, designed
by Mr. Watts, R.A., and Mr. Brittan, and the four greater Apostles by
the late Alfred Stevens. The work of these spandrels was carried out by
Dr. Salviati of Venice.

In the spring of 1891 Mr. W. B. Richmond, R.A., undertook the great work
of designing the cartoons, and of superintending the mosaic decoration
of the eastern end of the cathedral, including the apse, the original
sanctuary bay, and the choir.

The central panel in the roof of the apse is occupied with a
representation of “Our Lord in Majesty,” seated on a rainbow throne, and
clothed in light-coloured robes. The background is composed of a great
whirl of wings; the sun and moon are also represented. The panels on
either side of this subject contain figures of the recording angels,
which are Byzantine in style of design; as the whole of the mosaics are,
but perhaps not so much in degree as the figures of these angels. Mr.
Richmond had made a special study of the Ravenna mosaics, and was no
doubt rightly influenced by the style of design and methods of execution
of these early works.

The three saucer domes of the choir have subjects representing
respectively the creation of birds, fishes, and animals of the land; and
the pendentives of the saucer domes are each filled with figures of
angels, their arms being extended, as if in the act of bringing down
messages from heaven to the earth. Inscriptions in Latin, consisting of
appropriate scriptural texts, explain the subjects of the pendentives.

[Illustration: Fig. 291.—Mosaic from the Alhambra.]

The spaces at the sides of the clerestory windows are occupied with
figures of the Sibyls, Prophets, builders of the Tabernacle or House of
God, scenes from the Old Testament, and some secular figures.

The general effect of the mosaics is very rich, and the colouring
exceedingly harmonious.

[Illustration: Fig. 292.—Saracenic Mosaic, from Monreale.]

The smalto tesseræ used was made from opaque glass of many colours and
shades, and the fractured edge was shown in every case as the surface of
the mosaic; this was done in order to get greater brilliancy of colour,
and to catch all the possible light that is reflected from the walls and
floor of the church.

Portland stone composed the panels, and brick was the background
material of the saucer domes, and in order to get a bed for the cement
and tesseræ, these surfaces had to be cut away to a certain depth so
that the mosaics would come flush when finished with the original
surface. The tesseræ were inserted into a bed of red mastic cement, made
chiefly of a mixture of red lead and linseed oil, a cement which
ultimately sets as hard as the stone itself. The execution of the work
was entrusted to Messrs. Powell of London, who employed a large staff of
skilled assistants in this successful achievement.

[Illustration: Fig. 293.—Indian Mosaic, from the Taj Mehal.]

The Saracens employed mosaic—as in the Alhambra in Spain—in the form of
small tiles—_azulejos_—of glazed earthenware cut into geometric shapes,
from which they made up their characteristic rectilinear patterns, and
used this form of decoration to a great extent for walls, but rarely for
floor pavements (Figs. 291, 292).

Some beautiful examples of mosaic work in the nature of inlaid marbles
and precious stones occur in the Mohammedan buildings in India, the
chief of which are the Taj Mehal at Agra (Fig. 293) and the great palace
at Delhi. The latter has been noticed in the chapter on Indian
Architecture in the former volume, and an illustration of the inlaid
marble hall is given at Fig. 329 in the same volume.

                             CHAPTER VIII.


  Fig. 294.
  Glass Vase or Bottle; height,
  3½ ins. (B.M.)

The manufacture of glass is of great antiquity. The invention has been
ascribed to the Phœnicians, but specimens of glass beads, amulets,
plaques, vases, and small phials or bottles have been found in some of
the oldest Egyptian tombs. In the British Museum there is a small piece
of blue opaque glass in the form of a lion’s head, which bears the
prenomen of the Egyptian monarch Nuntef IV., belonging to the Fourth
Dynasty (B.C. 2423-2380). There are also paintings on the walls of early
tombs representing bottles with red wine, as well as figures engaged in

A number of glass bowls, vases, and bottles from Nimroud may be seen in
the British Museum, the earliest specimen of which is an Assyrian
transparent glass vase with two handles, and is inscribed with the name
of the monarch Sargon (B.C. 722-705). This is supposed to be the oldest
known specimen of transparent glass (Fig. 294).


  Fig. 295.
  Phœnician Alabastron.

Many long-shaped little bottles—_alabastron_—of pale greenish, and
others of brilliant colours, with slightly varied shapes, have been dug
up from the ruins of Assyrian palaces, and have been found in most of
the ancient tombs in Greece, Italy, and in the islands of Cyprus,
Sardinia, and Rhodes. These little bottles have been made by the
Egyptians, Assyrians, Phœnicians, and Greeks, and their shape, being
consecrated by use, remained unchanged for many centuries; they were
portable objects of barter, as glass beads also were with the
Phœnicians, who distributed them in trade to all parts of the countries
bordering on the Mediterranean (Figs. 295, 296).

Common forms of the Phœnician glass bottles were small vessels in the
shapes of heads, and of dates, grapes, and other fruits, which were
blown in moulds. These vessels probably came from the great workshops of
Tyre and Sidon; some of them bear the names of their makers—Eugenes,
Ennion, and “Artas the Sidonian.”

The shapes of many of these vessels are decidedly Greek, and if not
Greek in manufacture, have been copied from the shapes of Greek pottery.

The colours used were yellow, turquoise, and white on blue, green, or
brown, and a common arrangement of these was in zigzag or wavy
alternating lines; in other examples the surface was reeded, as may be
seen in the alabastron, Fig. 295.

[Illustration: Fig. 296.—Necklace of Glass and Gold, Phœnician. (B.M.)]

Ancient Roman glass is of great variety in colour, and many specimens
show the highest technical skill combined with great artistic beauty.
The lovely iridescent effect on Roman and other antique glass is due to
the chemical changes of the surface decomposition, and in other
instances to the minute flaking of the glass, which reflects the light
at various angles, and thus producing the prismatic hues.

At the time of the Roman occupation of Egypt, during the period of rule
under the Ptolemies, glass making was a great industry in the latter
country. It is said that the Romans learnt the art from the Egyptians,
and it is known that many of the latter were brought to Rome to practise
their art as glass-blowers.

The making of the glass known as _mille-fiori_ was taught to the Romans
by the Egyptians, and was extensively employed in vase and bottle making
by the former; the Venetians from the fourteenth century have imitated
the Romans in their uses of mille-fiori glass for bead making and other
purposes, with great success.

The method of making this variety of glass consists in arranging a
number of thin rods or threads of glass of the required variety of
colours, gold being sometimes used; these united rods were then fused
together by heat, and drawn out or twisted, so that when transverse
sections were cut the pattern would always be the same.

Another way of mixing the colour in glass, which was employed by the
Egyptians, Romans, and later by the Venetians, was in the making of
regular patterns of mosaic-like designs of the various colours, and
another was in imitating the precious stones and marbles, such as onyx,
agate, serpentine, porphyry, and murrhine; the latter is supposed to be
a variety of agate, with red and purple shades. The murrhine glass
examples of Roman manufacture are very rare.

The Romans used these glass imitations of the precious stones and
marbles to line their walls and floors, as in mosaic work.

Egyptian and Roman glass in their transparent varieties have such
colours as yellow, purple, blue, green, and pink; opaque colours are
generally found in shades of yellow, blue, green, and black. The most
valuable kind of glass was that of the clearest white or crystal; this,
it would appear, was the most difficult to make, as the commoner clear
variety had usually a slight greenish or bluish hue.

The Romans made a special variety of glass ware which consisted of
interlaced bands of opaque white or coloured glass, ingeniously made to
form a pattern by twisting them with clear or coloured transparent
glass, like that of the elegant lace-glass variety known as the “vitro
di trina” of the Venetians (Fig. 302).

In the arts of glass cameo and intaglio engraving, and in the imitation
of gems, the Romans were exceedingly skilful.

The cameo engraved glass was produced by placing a layer of white opaque
glass on a ground of transparent blue, the design being formed by
cutting away the white surface to the blue ground, leaving the blue as
the background; the remaining white which formed the design was then
carefully finished by engraving. Light and shade was produced according
to the thicknesses of the cameo left by the engraver.

[Illustration: Fig. 297.—Ancient Roman Glass Bottle. (S.K.M.)]

The celebrated Barberini or Portland Vase, in the British Museum, is
made in a blue and white cameo. This splendid work of art was discovered
in a marble sarcophagus near Rome, which is supposed to have been the
tomb of the Emperor Alexander Severus. The vase is ten inches in height,
is two-handled, and has for the subject of one side a figure decoration
representing Thetis consenting to be the bride of Peleus, attended by
Poseidon and Eros; on the other side is Peleus and Thetis on Mount
Pelion, and on the bottom is a bust of Paris. The ground is transparent
blue glass, and the subjects are beautifully engraved in cameo out of
the superimposed white layer.

[Illustration: Fig. 298.—Roman Glass Tablet in relief. (S.K.M.)]

A similar kind of vase, but smaller, was found at Pompeii, and is now in
the Museum at Naples, and the remains of the Auldjo Vase in the British
Museum is also in a similar style, the cameo decoration of it consisting
of vine-leaves.

Intaglios and cameos, sometimes of a large size, were copied in glass
from gems; these were usually cast in moulds, and many of them are of
high value as works of art. (Fig. 298).

The Romans made window glass of small squares or oblongs, which was
manufactured by rolling it on a plate.

In the early Christian period gold leaf was used as a means of
decoration on glass: sometimes the gold was annealed to the surface, and
sometimes it was placed, as the making of the gold smalto for mosaics,
between two layers of thin glass, and afterwards fired. Patterns and
figure subjects were executed in gold foil, and formed the decoration of
glass dishes and bowls, the broken remains of which have been found in
the Christian tombs of the Roman Catacombs.

Though extensive glass works are known to have existed at Constantinople
and at Thessalonica between the ninth and thirteenth centuries, there
are scarcely any remains of Byzantine glass in existence that can with
certainty be ascribed to the Eastern empire, unless we except the five
cups and two shallow basins of thick green glass that are decorated with
Byzantine ornament, and which form part of the treasure of St. Mark’s at
Venice. Glass was used in the windows of Byzantine churches and, of
course, in the making of the mosaic tesseræ.

It is highly probable that glass objects were made in Syria, and at
Damascus especially, since the Roman period, yet examples of the earlier
work from these parts are very rare. The celebrated gold cup of
Chrosroes (A.D. 531-579) is a Persian work which has been set with glass
lozenges and rosettes. Other examples are small glass weights, discs, or
tokens, and a Saracenic glass basin in the Cluny Museum at Paris, which
has been made either in Egypt or Syria, and is known to date between
1279 and 1294.

With the above exceptions there is no authentic work that can be pointed
to which dates earlier than the fourteenth century. The finest examples
of Saracenic glass, some of which may be seen in our museums, are the
beautiful enamelled glass mosque lamps (Fig. 299). They mostly date from
the fourteenth century, and are usually decorated richly with Arabic
inscriptions—sometimes with the name of the artist—in gold and coloured

In the city of Damascus glass cups and other vessels of great beauty
were made at this period, having enamelled Saracenic decorations.

The “cups of Damascus” were much prized, and according to the
inventories of the kings of England, France, and Germany, we learn that
they were set in gold stands or mounts, and were usually presents to
Western monarchs, brought by their ambassadors from the East.

The cup kept by the Musgrave family, and known as the “Luck of
Edenhall,” is made in enamelled Saracenic glass, and has a leather
covering of fifteenth-century workmanship.

[Illustration: Fig. 299.—Enamelled Oriental Glass Bottle and Mosque

Venetian blown glass has always been renowned for its beauty, both in
its elegance of form-as in the wine-glasses, goblets, and cups—and in
the beautiful opalescent hues of its delicate colouring.

The making of glass in Venice began to assume great importance in the
fourteenth century, but many small glass furnaces were in operation for
more than a hundred years prior to this date.

The Venetians apparently, in the early period of the Renaissance,
studied very closely the remains of the Roman glass, and eventually
imitated and produced nearly all the kinds of glass that in former days
were made in ancient Rome.

Another direct cause which led to the advancement of the glass makers’
craft in Venice was the parricidal conquest of Constantinople by the
Christians of Rome, aided by the fleets of Venice, in 1204, for after
the sacking of the Byzantine capital, most of the portable works of art
of every kind-including the bronze horses that had been brought from
Rome to Constantinople by its founder, and which now adorn the front of
St. Mark’s-were carried off to Venice, and it is more than likely that
after this the glass mosaic workers, among other Byzantine craftsmen,
had come to Venice, where they found employment in the rising republic.

The work in the mosaic decoration of St. Mark’s doubtless helped to
develop the making of glass in Venice, and the lagunes were rich in
marsh-loving plants that would yield alkali and furnish the fine sand
requisite for its manufacture.

Mention is made in one of the documents in the archives of Venice, dated
1090, of one Petrus Flavianus, who was a “phiolarius,” or glass maker,
and the trade regulations of the glass makers’ societies or corporations
are preserved at Venice and Murano, which show that in the thirteenth
century they had become important bodies.

Glass furnaces were becoming so numerous in Venice that the Great
Council decreed, in 1291, they should be demolished, but permitted them
to be set up outside the city, in the suburban districts. In the
following year, however, the decrees were altered to the effect that the
small glass workers might remain in the Rialto (the city proper),
provided fifteen paces were left between each atelier. These decrees
were made to guard against a possible spread of fire.

It is supposed that this had the effect of moving many of the principal
glass works to Murano, a district of Venice which had become renowned
for the production of Venetian glass, and where to-day the eminent firm
of Salviati & Co. have their extensive works.

The glass house at Murano, which was known as the “Sign of the Angel” in
the early half of the fifteenth century, was the most renowned of the
ateliers of that century. Angelo Beroviero was one of its earliest
directors, who was succeeded by his son Marino in that position. The
latter was a head or master of the Company of “Phioleri” (Glass Makers’
Corporation) in 1468, which was a very strong society at that time and
enjoyed exceptional privileges from the city council.

The intercourse of Venice with the East furnished the Venetian glass
makers with patterns of Damascus and Egyptian glass, and the enamelled
and gilded Oriental varieties were imitated and improved on by the
Murano artists. Some of the products of this period are preserved in the
museums. The illustration (Fig. 300) is from a Venetian enamelled cup of
green glass in the Kensington Museum.

In the sixteenth century the glass-making furnaces of Murano had
increased to a great extent, and were placed under the special
protection of the Council of Ten. Owing to the jealousy at this time of
other European States, Venetian glass-blowers were bribed by offers of
money and large salaries to set up furnaces abroad, and laws were then
made forbidding workmen to leave the country to carry on glass making in
other places under the penalty of death. This, however, did not prevent
Venetian glass-blowers from taking service under the protection of
foreign rulers in such countries as Flanders, Spain, and England.

The natural consequences followed, that the exports in glass from Venice
to foreign countries became lessened, so much so that the workmen of
Murano complained of being thrown idle for several months in the year.

[Illustration: Fig. 300.—Venetian Enamelled Glass; Fifteenth Century.

Venetian glass has been made in many colours, such as blue, green,
purple, amber, and ruby, and in variegated mixtures of clear or
transparent and opaque glass. The clear variety is remarkable for
elegance of shape and fantastic designs of handles or wings, consisting
of twisted and knotted interlacings, which were generally executed in
blue or red colours and attached to the sides of wine-glasses and other
vessels (Fig. 301). One beautiful variety of glass is clouded with a
milky-like opalescent tint, which is supposed to be produced from
arsenic. The opaque white glass is made by the addition of oxide of tin
to the usual ingredients.

[Illustration: Fig. 301.—Venetian Glass of the Sixteenth Century. (J.)]

[Illustration: Fig. 302.—Venetian “Vitro di trina.” (S.K.M.)]

Glass was made by the Venetians to imitate precious stones, were
streaked, splashed, or spotted with various colours, gold, and copper;
the aventurine spotted glass was obtained from a silicate of copper.

The _latticinio_ variety was formed of rods of transparent glass
enclosing lines of opaque white glass forming patterns. The _vitro di
trina_ is the so-called lace-glass (Fig. 302); the latter and the
mosaic-like or _mille-fiori_ glass were made by the Venetians in
imitation of the Roman varieties. Another variety was that known as _a
reticelli_, in which ornament of opaque network sometimes enclosed air
bubbles. That known under the German name of _Schmelz_ is the variegated
or marble opaque glass made in the Murano furnaces, which imitated
chalcedony, lapis lazuli, tortoiseshell, and jasper. Crackled glass was
made by the sudden cooling of the half-blown material; this was again
heated and drawn out in order to increase the spaces between the
crackled lines.

In the sixteenth century the forms of the Venetian glass vessels were of
the Renaissance type; the long shanks and the wide bowls gave them an
appearance of elegance and grace. The light and thin character of the
material had also a great deal to do with the fragile look of elegance
in Venetian glass of this period; the glass of the former (fifteenth)
century was of a much thicker kind.

The lightness and superior strength of Venetian glass was due to the
absence of lead in its composition, which is so much used in the modern
flint glass.

The materials of the composition of the clear Murano glass are supposed
to be—one part of alkali, obtained from ferns, moss, lichen, or seaweed,
and two parts of pebbles of white quartz or fine clean white sand, and a
small quantity of manganese, all well mixed together and melted in the

The colouring matter is produced from the oxides of various metals, as
in the vitreous coloured glazes used in the enamels for glazed pottery.

Vessels and objects in endless variety have been made by the Venetians,
such as ewers, basins, drinking-glasses, bottles, standing cups, bowls,
goblets, large and small candlesticks, beads, and mirrors, and were
exported in great quantities to all parts by the Venetian galleys.

Bead making at Venice was a separate trade, and was one of great
importance in the sixteenth and two following centuries. The makers of
the small beads were called the “Margariteri,” and those who made the
large beads were known as the “Perlai.” The beads were made from small
sections broken or cut off from rods or tubes of glass and placed in an
iron pot that was made to rotate, so that the motion prevented the beads
from adhering to each other, and at the same time formulated their
spherical shape.

Mirrors were made by the ancients of polished metal and from slabs of
black obsidian—a kind of natural glass. In mediæval times they were made
of clear glass behind which was placed a sheet of lead foil. Glass
mirrors were made in Venice from the year 1507, when methods had been
discovered of polishing the glass and of applying the “foglia,” or layer
of metal leaf, to the back. After this date the making of mirrors soon
developed into great importance, and the “Specchiai,” or mirror makers,
had their own corporation. Like the other glass wares of Venetian
manufacture, the mirrors were exported to all parts of Europe.

Some good examples of sixteenth-century mirrors and mirror-frames in
glass cut into ornamental shapes, with bevelled edges and engraved, are
preserved in our museums and in old houses.

Glass painting for windows was known and practised in Venice as early as
the fourteenth century. The very early Italian stained glass used in
windows is said to have been executed for Leo III. in 795.

Besides the painted or stained glass used in church windows during the
Middle Ages throughout Italy, there were glass manufactories in Rome,
Verona, Milan, and Florence for the production of similar wares as those
of Venice.

In France and Spain glass making was carried on at various places from
the days of the Romans; antique fragments of glass have been dug up in
Normandy and in Poitou. In the latter province glass making flourished
from a very early date up to the fifteenth century. It was revived in
1572 by the Venetian Fabriano Salviati, who came to Poitou and set up a
glass workshop. At Paris, Rouen, Normandy, and in Lorraine glass was
made prior to the sixteenth century. The Normandy glass was of a coarse
kind, made chiefly for windows and common utensils, but many of the
Venetian varieties were made at the other places named.

Some Venetian glass makers came to Paris in 1665, when an establishment
was formed for the making of mirrors, and about the same time another
factory was set up at Four-la-Ville; these two factories were united by
the French Minister Colbert, and were under the patronage of the king.
We find that soon afterwards, and especially in the Louis-Quinze period,
large panels and wall spaces were filled with glass mirrors as interior

[Illustration: Fig. 303.—Spanish Glass; Sixteenth Century. (S.K.M.)]

Glass was made in Spain in the Ibero-Roman period, as the remains of
glass vessels and necklaces have been found in tombs, and the ruins of
Roman furnaces have been found in the valleys of the Pyrenees. It is
supposed that the art was carried on under the Gothic kings of Spain,
and also by the Moors in the thirteenth century, who brought with them
glass workers as well as some of the wares of the East. Much of the
glass made in Spain subsequent to this date is in imitation of the
shapes of Arabian pottery, and this is still the case in much of the
modern Spanish glass. Spanish glass of the Renaissance was similar in
form and in material to the Venetian work of the same period, and during
the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the work was in imitation more
or less of the contemporary Dutch and Flemish glass (Fig. 303).

In Holland, glassware seems to have been made by Murano artificers, who
from time to time settled in that country and brought the secrets of
their trade with them. The objects made were naturally imitations of the
Venetian glass, and many of the Dutch drinking-glasses were very
graceful in design.

In Amsterdam, Antwerp, Brussels, and throughout the Low Countries
generally Venetian glass had been imported in great quantities in the
time of and prior to the seventeenth century, and it is difficult to say
how much of the old glass found at those places is Dutch, Flemish, or

Engraving on glass was much practised in Holland, and many Dutch goblets
have well executed portraits of kings, queens, and other persons.

Glass making has been practised in Germany, like in most European
countries, from the days of the Romans downwards, especially in the
Rhenish Provinces, but German examples dating from the Middle Ages are
very rare.

[Illustration: Fig. 304.—German Glasses. (S.K.M.)]

There is documentary evidence which proves that glass was made at Mainz
as early as the beginning of the eighth century.

The earliest example of German glass in this country is a _wiederkom_,
or cylindrical drinking-vessel, which bears the date of 1571, but an
older one, of the date of 1553, is preserved in the Künstkammer at

A favourite decoration on the German Wiederkoms is the arms of the
emperor or electors, those of the different states of the empire, and of
private owners (Fig. 304).

The colour of this kind of glass is usually green and the decorations
are enamelled or painted in grisaille; as a rule the German cups and
wine glasses of the seventeenth century are richly decorated (Fig. 305).
In the German wine-glasses known as “flügelgläser” is seen an imitation
of the Venetian “winged glasses” (Fig. 301).

[Illustration: Fig. 305.—Decorated German Vases; Seventeenth Century.

Bohemian glass of the seventeenth century is noted for its clearness and
good quality, and illustrates the advancement made in the art of
engraving on glass. The engraved work was done with a diamond point as
in etching, with the lapidary’s wheel, and by means of biting the glass
with fluoric acid; the latter method is said to have been discovered by
Henry Schwanhard of Nüremberg in 1670. John Schäper was a very clever
glass engraver and decorator of this period.

A beautiful kind of German glass is known as Kunckel’s ruby glass, the
originator of which was the director of the Potsdam glass works, where
he produced this variety about 1680.

Many relics of glass vessels and beads have been found in Roman tombs,
and in various parts of England, of a greenish or blue colour. These may
have been imported or may have been made in England, but there is no
certain evidence of this. Glass vessels for drinking purposes have been
found which are believed to have belonged to the Anglo-Saxon period
(Fig. 306).

The material of these is thin, the colour is generally of a pale straw
tint, and strips of thickened glass ornament the outside, arranged in
the nature of parallel lines, or wound spirally to produce a kind of
network decoration.

[Illustration: Fig. 306.—Anglo-Saxon Drinking Cup. (S.K.M.)]

Venetian glass found its way to England in the sixteenth century; in the
inventories of Henry VIII. (1529) and of Robert, Earl of Leicester
(1588), large quantities of Venetian glasses are mentioned as belonging
to the above.

Some Muranese glass workers were engaged at this time (1550) in the
service of the King of England. The name of an Italian—Jacob
Vessaline—is mentioned as a glass maker who worked at Crutched Friars in
the beginning of Elizabeth’s reign (1557), and in the year 1589 there
were supposed to be fifteen glass houses in England.

Sir Robert Mansel was a prominent glass maker of the seventeenth
century; he obtained patents in the year 1616 for the making of window
glass and all kinds of vessels, and from the remains of glass objects
that were found on the site of Princes Hall, in Broad Street, London, it
is believed that his works were on that spot.

Mansel employed Italian workmen in the first instance, and it appears
that prior to 1623 he had set up works in Milford Haven, at
Newcastle-on-Tyne, in Scotland, and other places. The Newcastle furnaces
were the most successful, the others being practically failures. Mr.
Nesbitt thinks that the success of the Newcastle-on-Tyne works was due
to the new system of flint-glass making, which must be credited as an
English invention.

Flint or crystal glass is made of a mixture of silicate of potash and
lead. It was known but imperfectly made by the Romans in their clear
glass variety, which contained a small portion of lead. In the Middle
Ages the glass which contained lead was called “Jewish glass,” and was
generally used for painting on, as it was more fusible than other
varieties which did not contain lead. But all authorities agree that the
English invented a new product in their flint glass, which was made
after many experiments at Lambeth in 1673, as “clear, ponderous, and
thick as crystal.”

Mr. Nesbitt infers that it was the use of coal in the furnaces instead
of wood that led to the development of the process. When using coal the
melting-pots had to be covered in the furnace, which lessened the
heating powers and thus made the fusing more difficult. To put more
alkali in the mixture would have helped it to fuse at a much lower heat,
but it would have injured the colour and quality of the glass, so lead
was added in certain proportions, which gave the requisite clearness and

All kinds of glass vessels and plate glass for carriage windows were
made at Lambeth, under the management or patronage of the Duke of

[Illustration: Fig. 307.—Stained Glass; Fifteenth Century.]

Though there are no records of glass making in Ireland of a very early
date, the glass beads and glass bosses which decorate the objects of
Irish art, such as the crosses, croziers, brooches, book-covers, and the
celebrated Ardagh Chalice, prove that the art was known in Ireland at
least in the ninth century, if not earlier. Mention has also been made
in old writings of this period of glass vessels for use in Irish

[Illustration: Fig. 308.—Window Glass; English, Fifteenth Century.]

Painted or stained window glass is the glory of our Mediæval churches.
The earliest coloured windows were doubtless made from mosaic-like
arrangements of different bits of coloured glass. The mosaic window led
to the representation of pictorial subjects in stained glass, the latter
being formed of pieces of self-coloured glass, or that kind having each
piece stained in one colour throughout, cut in the requisite shapes, and
fastened together by an arrangement of lead lines which form the main
lines of the design; to help out the drawing and expression the stained
glass is shaded in hatchings, stippling, and bold lines, usually in a
brown colour. Painted glass, as distinguished from stained glass, is
that which is painted on clear or tinted grounds with various enamel
colours made from metallic oxides. After the painting is finished the
piece of glass is fired, and the enamel colours become fused with the
glass surface, and really become part of the glass itself. More finish,
a wider range of colouring, greater detail, and generally a more
pictorial effect is produced by the artist being able to use freely the
enamel colours; but a corresponding loss of depth and brilliancy of
colour and of bold decorative effect which belonged to older examples of
stained glass must be set against any advantages the painted variety may
possess from its pictorial point of view.

The earliest instance in the use of stained glass for church window’s is
supposed to have been in those that were given by Count Arnold to the
Abbey of Tegernsee in Bavaria in the year 999. The thirteenth and
fourteenth century were the finest periods for the stained-glass windows
of the Gothic cathedrals both in England and on the Continent. About the
middle of the sixteenth century enamel colours began to be used, and, as
before observed, the designs showed a striving after pictorial effects.

[Illustration: Fig. 309.—Chinese Glass Bowl. (S.K.M.)]

The revival of classic art in the Renaissance period has also a great
deal to do with this change in the style and method of execution in
painted glass, and we find that the greatest painters—but not always the
greatest decorators-of the period supplied cartoons and designs for this
class of work.

Glass making has been known in China and Japan from very early times,
but it appears to be difficult to obtain anything like authentic
information as to its history from our present imperfect knowledge or
acquaintance with the native records.

There are stories of ancient Chinese glass vessels that are said to have
been seen by the French missionaries of the last century, one of which
vessels was so large that “a mule could have been put into it,” and that
the Chinese made a kind of glass called “lieou-li” that was sufficiently
elastic as to bend easily.

The vitreous enamels of the Chinese were of course used as glazes on
their porcelain wares and pottery, but it seems that formerly they only
made glass objects in the imitation of precious stones, gems, and in
their enamels. Chinese glass is often made to simulate rock crystal and
jade carvings; their glass snuff-boxes and other small objects are
usually well coloured, and are decorated with relief work of ornament,
landscapes or figure subjects, the objects generally being of a massive
character (Fig. 309).

                              CHAPTER IX.
                        THE DECORATION OF BOOKS.

Books may be illustrated in a more or less pictorial manner without any
particular regard to the decoration of the page, or with due regard to
its ornamentation. In the latter case the designer of the decoration
will be the illustrator and decorator in one.

The great majority of modern illustrated books are not decorated in the
true sense of the word, but have their illustrations inserted as
pictures, or scraps of pictures, without borders or frames, and with
little or no relation to the distribution of the printed matter or to
the boundary lines of the page. In this respect the modern practice is
different from that observed in the Mediæval and Renaissance book
illustration, for in the two periods named, when a purely literal or
pictorial scene was inserted, it had usually borders like mouldings, or
borders of rich decoration, or sometimes bands and lines only, which
separated the picture from the printed or written text, and harmonized
with any other decoration that might be on the page. Thus an artistic
unity was usually preserved in the book decoration of earlier times,
which, generally speaking, is the exception in the present day, and not
the rule.

The modern practice was brought about by the invention of copper-plate
engraving—about 1477—when the copper-plate illustration became, in a
great measure, the substitute for wood-engraved blocks of a former
period. The plates were usually engraved with copies of pictures, and
the book decorator was superseded by the painter; the art and practice
of the former declined, while the work of the latter became fashionable,
and has remained so ever since.

Photography has been a considerable aid to the pictorial side of book
illustration, and has, on the other hand, been a great help to designers
of decorative illustration, for by the use of photography the designer
is enabled to have the work of his hand reproduced in facsimile, as in
the process block method, which has been such a powerful rival and
competitor to all kinds of engraving that it has now almost crushed them
out of existence.

Before the invention of printing books were very scarce, as they were
written in manuscript, and were mostly of a devotional character, made
for the use of the clergy and others in monastic establishments or
religious houses.

The writers and decorators of these missals or illuminated books were
chiefly the brothers or monks of the several religious orders.

Some of the earliest and best decorated books are those belonging to the
Irish Celtic art of the seventh and eighth centuries. The remarkable
designs of illuminated initials and capitals, and the intricate
geometric patterns, spirals, and involved interlacings of many
varieties, all executed with astonishing skill, were not excelled or
equalled by the scribes and designers of similar work in England or on
the Continent.

Foremost in importance among the many remaining monuments of Irish art
in book decoration is the celebrated “Book of Kells,” now preserved in
Trinity College, Dublin. It was formerly supposed to have been brought
to the Columban Monastery of Kells, or Kenlis, the ancient Cennanas, by
St. Columba, the founder of that Christian house, whose death is said to
have taken place in the year 597; but this is likely to be only
tradition, for it would appear, according to some later authorities,
that the character of the lettering and the style of the ornamentation
fixes the date of its execution about the end of the seventh century.

Although the native Irish phase of Celtic art possesses many
characteristics of its own, it is a development in some degree of the
more Eastern Romanesque ornament, and symbolic Byzantine, or even the
more primitive Greek. It is also mixed with a few geometric forms and
symbols that had existed in Ireland before the introduction of
Christianity in the fifth century.

In the “Book of Kells,” for instance, there are several illustrations
which show in some parts a Greek influence, and in one page the Greek
monogram of Christ appears.

The initial letters in square or rectilineal capitals usually occupy
large portions of the illuminated page, and are often embedded in
rectangular panels with borders, the latter being filled with elaborate
interlacings and spirals, &c. (Fig. 310).

The smaller text used by the Irish scribes was founded on the round or
uncial Roman variety of lettering, but in the Irish variety there is a
distinct improvement on the Roman in its beautiful and restrained
quality of artistic simplicity, combined with its perfect legibility. In
some Irish manuscripts an angular cursive or running hand was also used.

An illustration given at Fig. 311 of the frontispiece from the “Epistle
of Jerome,” in the Irish missal known as the “Book of Durrow,” is a fine
example of Celtic ornamentation. This and the previous illustration are
from Miss M. Stokes’ handbook on “Early Christian Art in Ireland.”

[Illustration: Fig 310.—Portion of Illuminated Monogram; Book of Kells.

The influence and art work of the Irish scribes and missal decorators in
England and on the Continent has been much greater than was formerly
believed. Missionaries were sent to England, Scotland, and to the
Continent, from the great monastic establishments in Ireland during the
period from the seventh to the eleventh centuries, and carried with them
“Gospels,” “Psalters,” and other missals, besides making many other
religious books for the use of the monasteries they had founded in
foreign countries. These Irish scribes also taught their art of book
illumination to the monks who lived at such places where they set up
their missions, or where they had become recluses in the foreign
monasteries already established. This accounts for the number of Irish
manuscripts that have been found in such monastic houses as that of St.
Gall in Switzerland, Bobio in Piedmont, at Mentz (Mayence), at Ratisbon
in Bavaria, at Honau on the Rhine, and at many other places on the
Continent. The style of art in all the manuscripts found at these
places, though introduced at the inception of Christianity into Ireland
from Italy through Gaul, had died out in the latter countries during the
fourth and fifth centuries, and was re-introduced, as we have seen,
under a modified phase into the Continent by the Irish missionary

[Illustration: Fig. 311.—From the Epistle of Jerome; “Book of Durrow.”

The majority of the Anglo-Saxon manuscripts, if not written by Irish
scribes in England, were either decorated or copied closely from the
work of the latter. This is supported by some written testimony, but the
ornamentation of the pages themselves are distinctly of Irish design.

A common feature in the illuminated pages of the books of the Middle
Ages was the dividing of the pages into four compartments with
ornamental borders, and each compartment holding the figure of a saint
or symbols of the Evangelists, or having a miniature on the top half of
the page and two small columns of text below.

Anglo-Saxon manuscripts, with classical treatment of the figure designs,
may be seen in the King’s Library at the British Museum. The figures
have the attenuated Byzantine character, with the linear treatment of
the draperies, and with the long lobe-like forms which strongly mark the
intended position of the limbs under the drapery; while others show the
influence of the early Christian paintings of the catacombs at Rome and

The “Charter” of the foundation of Newminster at Winchester (966) and
several “Gospels” in Latin of the eleventh century in the British
Museum, are examples of the best kind of Anglo-Saxon illuminated

“Psalteries,” “Gospels,” and botanical works known as “Herbals” were
among the principal kinds of illustrated books, which were executed in
considerable numbers during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The
text in these books was usually in solid columns, neatly written in a
kind of half-uncial letter in Latin, with large initials and surrounded
by broad borders, having little scrolls and trefoil leaves or flowers in
which four or six miniatures were placed at intervals. Some pages had
the upper half or more occupied by a miniature and had less text, but
nearly always there were the accompanying delicate borders designed with
great spirit and freedom, and consisting of ornament made up of leaves,
flowers, fruit, stems, lines, and spirals, executed on the vellum ground
in bright colours and burnished gold.

A characteristic of some of the missals of the fourteenth and fifteenth
centuries was the calendar pages at the beginning of the book. The pages
which contained the calendar had also, in some cases, miniatures in the
borders representing the seasons.

The Bedford Missal (1442), in the British Museum, is a good example of
the best French book decoration of that period. It contains a calendar,
and was the work of a French artist, though executed in England.

Towards the end of the fifteenth century the miniature began to assume
more importance and to occupy the whole of the page. The borders had
become more realistic in treatment; foliage, flowers, and insects were
rendered almost naturally on gold or coloured grounds, with cast
shadows, so as to give the utmost relief.

This treatment was not an improvement on the former flat Gothic style,
as it tended to lead to shadowy and meretricious work.

Two of the very finest books of this period are the “Romance of the
Rose,” in the British Museum, and the Grimani “Breviary” in St. Mark’s,
Venice. In the latter magnificent book some of the miniatures are
ascribed to the Flemish artist Memling.

The miniatures of the splendid choir books of Siena Cathedral are the
masterly designs of Girolamo da Cremona and Liberale da Verona, who were
famous at this kind of work. The quantity, variety, and purely Italian
character of the decoration of these books would almost be sufficient to
form a school of Renaissance art in itself.

With the invention of printing a great change came about in the
production of decorated books; but it is curious to note that, for a
long time after, in order to produce a book it was thought necessary by
the means of woodcuts and type to imitate the illuminated missals of the
former times.

A good illustration of this may be seen in the woodcut blocks from the
recently discovered Sarum Missal (Figs. 312, 313). This very important
acquisition to the list of Caxton’s works was found in 1893, in Lord
Newton’s library at Lyme Hall, Cheshire, and is one of the works which
Caxton sent to be printed in France. It contains some additions to the
text in Caxton’s handwriting and has an impression of his peculiar mark
at the end of the book.

The illustrations have been printed from wood blocks, and coloured by
hand afterwards, according to the practice which obtained at the latter
end of the fifteenth century.

Another interesting survival of the practice of placing a cross at the
bottom of the page, on which was represented the crucifixion, is seen
underneath the latter illustration (Fig. 313) in the Lyme Missal. In the
earlier illuminated missals this device was resorted to in order to keep
the picture of the crucifixion from being damaged by the frequent
kissing of the cross; and so a small cross was placed at the bottom of
the picture to enable the piously inclined to still perform this act of
piety without damage to the book.

The custom of engraving blocks for book illustration in outline, to be
filled in afterwards in colour, led the way to line engraving on wood,
where the pure line work was left uncoloured, and soon after became a
style by itself, which ultimately, as the art of black and white, was
sought after and prized for its own sake.

The invention of printing from type may be traced from the woodcuts, as
we have remarked above, some of the earliest of which were those cut for
playing cards at the beginning of the fifteenth century.

[Illustration: Fig. 312.—Page from the Caxton “Lyme Missal.”]

The invention was soon after applied to the production of the
xylographic or block-printed books, which were printed in colour from
the block. The colour was spread on the block, a sheet of paper was
placed on the top, and then rubbed over by the hand to get the
impression. The early block-books printed in this way had more pictorial
or decorative work in their pages than text or literary matter, and
therefore appealed more directly to the great uneducated masses of the
people of the times for whom they were compiled. By means of the block
printing, many proofs could also be taken to supply the increasing
demand for general knowledge which was springing up everywhere in the
fifteenth century. Letters, whole words, and legends were now also cut
for the printing of literary matter in the block-books. Book blocks were
cut in Germany, Holland, and Flanders; the period of their production
was from the year 1420 to 1510.

The invention of printing by movable type has been ascribed to various
people, but it is now pretty certain that the one name most entitled to
this honour is that of John Gutenberg, a native of Mentz (Mainz), who
set up a printing establishment in that city in the year 1455, and who
worked in connection with Fust, another German printer. The invention,
therefore, may date about 1450.

It was about 1455 that the Mazarin Bible was issued from the press of
Fust and Gutenberg at Mentz. Lord Ashburnham’s copy of the Mazarin
Bible, printed on vellum, has been sold this year (1897) for the sum of

Peter Schœffer was in partnership some years later with Fust, and in the
year 1457 they issued the famous Mentz Psalter (now in the British
Museum), the first book printed in different colours from the same
block, and the first printed book with a date. This book is a triumph of
technical skill, and is unique in its beauty among printed books of the
earliest period.

[Illustration: Fig. 313.—Page with the Crucifixion from the Caxton “Lyme

There are few, if any, of the early printed books that cannot lay a
great claim to artistic merit, but this would hardly have been possible
if the designers of the type and ornament for the decoration of the
pages, at the advent of printing, had not had before their eyes the
splendid models left them by the caligraphers and illuminators of the
preceding centuries.

It will be convenient here to say a few words concerning early English
printing, which is associated with the name of its great founder,
William Caxton (1423-1491). He was a merchant and a diplomatist, but a
man of strong literary tastes. He learned the art of printing from
Colard Mansion, at Bruges, where he had set up as a merchant; but
leaving his business, he entered the household of the Duchess of
Burgundy, sister of Edward IV., where he was engaged in literary
pursuits, and for her he made a translation of Le Fevre’s “Recueil des
Histoires de Troyes.” It was in order to multiply copies of this work
that he learned the art of printing, and it is said that this was the
first English book ever printed, which was probably printed by Mansion
at Bruges, under the literary direction of Caxton, in the year 1476.

Caxton came back to England in 1477, and set up a printing press at
Westminster, from which he issued a great many books during the last
fourteen years of his life. His first book printed at Westminster was a
work called “Dictes and Sayings of the Philosophers,” which is known to
be the first English book printed in England. It is now shown in Case
VIII., King’s Library, in the British Museum. Among Caxton’s other books
may be mentioned several editions of the poets Chaucer, Lydgate, and
Gower, Malory’s “Morte d’Arthur,” &c. He evidently sent books of his own
composition to be printed on the Continent, as witness the Sarum Missal
before mentioned.

The early printed books did not have title-pages. The slow development
of this feature after the invention of printing is accounted for by the
reason that in this respect, as in others, the first printed books were
modelled in imitation of the illuminated missals, and it was not deemed
necessary in the mediæval books and manuscripts to have a title-page,
the scribe of the olden time merely recording in a note or label
fastened to the end of the volume the name and description of his work;
so this habit was continued for a long time by the early printers. This
note or ending was called a _Colophon_.

Title-pages began to come into use about 1490, but it was not until
about forty years later that they became general.

Printers’ devices, which were generally of an heraldic character, were
commonly seen on the title-pages, some of which were very elaborate and
finely designed. The famous printing house of Aldus at Venice had a
device of an anchor with a dolphin twined around it, and the motto
“Propera tarde,” or “Festina lente” (hasten slowly). It was from the
printing press of Aldus, in 1499, that the celebrated book called
_Poliphili Hypnerotomachia_, “The Dream of Poliphilus,” was issued. It
is a finely illustrated book, consisting of classical compositions of
figures and processions, many architectural designs, ornamental letters,
emblems, and devices, all of which are executed in outline and printed
from wood blocks.

The illustrations have a fine quality of line, somewhat in the spirit
and style of Mantegna’s processional designs, or like those great
woodcuts in the “Triumph of Maximilian” by Hans Burgmair and Albert
Dürer; they are supposed—without, however, any definite proof—to be the
work of Gentile or Giovanni Bellini. The book is a romance written and
illustrated in the spirit of classical antiquity that so deeply coloured
the art and literature of the early Renaissance epoch. A reproduction of
the illustrations of this book in photo-lithography by Mr. W. Griggs,
with notes by Dr. Appell, was issued by the Science and Art Department
in 1888.

[Illustration: Fig. 314.—Illustration from Woodcut of Dante’s “Inferno;”
Fifteenth Century.]

Somewhat in the style of “The Dream of Poliphilus” is the illustration
(Fig. 314) from an edition of Dante’s “Inferno” of the same period.

A reduced specimen of the flat treatment of a Renaissance border, from a
woodcut which appeared in an edition of “Herodotus” printed at Venice in
1470, is shown as the Frontispiece of this volume. This rich and
delicate design is extremely effective in white on a black ground, and
is artistically appropriate to the decoration of the page, much more so
than the later French and German work in borders and title-pages, which
was usually of an extremely heavy character.

Shaded designs of an architectural kind, such as friezes, columns,
bases, and pediments, with corpulent figure decoration and heavy
mouldings, were compositions which in the latter end of the sixteenth
and during the seventeenth centuries took the place of the earlier light
arabesque scroll-work of the Italian school, which revelled in the
beauty of purer outline and in flat treatment of black and white.

Jean Goujon, Jean Cousin, Virgil Solis, Ducerceau, Stimmer, Jost Amman,
and others, though versatile and vigorous to the highest degree, and
clever French and German draughtsmen of the sixteenth century, their
work in book decoration was more like designs for stone carving and
sculpture than legitimate decoration for books. At the end of the
century, however, a more correct appreciation of book-cover decoration
was manifested. This was due to the happy influence of Arabian design
when mixed with the prevailing Renaissance forms. The Oriental craftsmen
who came to Italy, and the great commerce of Venice and Europe generally
with the East, served to colour in a marked degree the design of the
ornamental arts, and nowhere do we see the purely Arabian strap-work and
peculiar Saracen leafage used to such advantage as in the tooled and
stamped book-cover designs of this period. The Henri Deux book-cover
design (Fig. 315) is Arabian in its details, but Renaissance in its
general arrangement. It might have been designed by Ducerceau, but
perhaps more likely by Solomon Bernard of Lyons—known as “Le Petit
Bernard”—who was a prolific designer of small pictures for wood-engraved
book illustrations. He died at Lyons in 1570.

[Illustration: Fig. 315.—Cover of a Rook. Henri-Deux Style; Sixteenth

Both of these designers, as well as another famous designer of book
decoration, Geoffry Tory, were very partial to the use of strap-work and
Arab foliation. The latter artist was also a scholar and author, and
produced many fine designs for book-covers. Fig. 316 is a very delicate
and rich design for the cover of a “Book of the Hours,” by Tory, and is
a good example of the Franco-Renaissance of the sixteenth century.

Jean Grolier, Viscount d’Aguisy, was one of the earliest and greatest
bibliophiles of France. Though of Italian origin he adopted France as
his country, and was Treasurer-General of France when he died, in 1565,
at the age of eighty-six. He was appointed ambassador to Clement VII. in
the year 1534, and at this time had begun to collect valuable books,
that had been chiefly printed in Venice and at Basle. These books were
generally unbound copies, but were printed with great care on beautiful
paper. On his return to France he employed Geoffry Tory and other
designers as well as the best craftsmen in bookbinding to decorate and
clothe his precious works. The illustrations we have given are such as
are usually found on the Grolier bindings, which nearly always consist
of designs composed of strap-work or interlacings and delicate tracery,
clothed with Arabian foliage, worked on prepared costly leathers in
various colours, and often heightened with gold.

Grolier’s bindings usually bore in addition to the title of the book the
inscription “Jo Grolierii Et Amicorum,” indicating that they belonged to
Grolier and his friends, at the same time adding a testimony to the
unselfish spirit of the great book-lover.

[Illustration: Fig. 316.—Cover for a “Book of the Hours,” designed by
Geoffry Tory; French, Sixteenth Century.]

The strap-work and Oriental foliage designs, which had developed so much
in France, went even further in Germany, not only in bookbinding
decoration, but in gold and silversmiths’ work, and in architecture—as
we have noticed before in this volume—and nearly all the German,
Flemish, and Dutch artists of the sixteenth and following century, who
designed for book decoration, adopted the above features in their
ornament. Great masters like Albert Dürer, Holbein the younger, Lucas
Cranach, and Hans Burgmair, and the “little masters”—Jost Amman, Hans
Sebald Beham, Aldegrever, Virgil Solis, Jerome Bang, Peter Flötner of
Liége, the Collærts and Janssens of Antwerp, and Lucas Kilian of
Augsburg—were the principal designers and engravers for book decoration
and illustrations, in which work they were engaged among their varied
and prolific labours in other branches of decorative art.

During the seventeenth century the power of design was growing rapidly
weaker, the ornament became coarser in feeling and imitated the
cumbersome and heavy traditions of classical art. Headpieces,
tailpieces, and printers’ devices or marks were now more in fashion,
rather than the consideration of the design of the page as a whole
decorative scheme.

Title-pages with heavy architectural pretensions and pictorial views
began to be very common at the end of the century and throughout the
eighteenth century.

The pictorial illustration in black and white was due to the development
of copper-plate first, and steel engraving afterwards, as new methods
for book illustration. These processes were developed very much in Italy
and France at the beginning of the eighteenth century, and in England
their use in book illustration might be said to extend from about the
middle of the eighteenth to the middle of the present century. This
period embraced that of the publication of a type of English books of
essays, poems, and short stories, known as Anniversaries, Amulets,
Annuals, Keepsakes, Souvenirs, &c. These books were filled with
beautifully executed line engravings of landscapes and figure subjects,
and most of them were of the highest order of technical skill. The
period of their existence was from 1780 to 1830.

Book decoration had become more and more pictorial and less decorative
when the method employed was line engraving, for, generally speaking,
pictures in oil or water-colour were copied with great fidelity and
skill by the engraver for use in book illustration, and thus through the
agency of the burin or engraver’s tool the painter supplanted the book

Many of the line engravings in the books of the above period show a
mixture, on the same plate, of pure line engraving and etching, the
latter being a process in which the lines of the design are scratched
into the metal plate, which had been previously covered with a wax
preparation, and the lines thus exposed are bitten deeper by an acid
solution into which the plate is immersed.

Three artists of great talents—Prout, Stothard, and Turner—supplied
designs and water-colour drawings of landscapes, figures, and decorative
compositions, that were engraved as book illustrations. The
illustrations, though on a small scale, to Rogers’s “Poems,” were very
beautifully engraved by William Finden, after the designs of Stothard,
who made the figure compositions, and of Turner, who did the landscapes.
Finden was the great interpreter of Stothard’s figure designs, but was
equally successful in his engraving of Turner’s landscapes.

Stothard has designed many illustrations for books which are
characterized by a fine sense of decorative value; his figures were, as
a rule, clothed in light classical costumes, and were graceful in pose
and in drawing. The best engravers of the day, such as Finden, Heath,
Allen, Fox, Goodyear, Robinson, and Humphreys, were engaged for the
publishers in translating his designs for book illustration.

Steel-engraved frontispieces to books on science, history, travels,
architecture, and philosophy had become very common in the eighteenth
century. The designs of these were more or less of a heavy classical
type of architectural framing and allegorical figures, sometimes
enclosing portraits or landscape views. Hogarth’s engraved designs and
the work of Flaxman maybe said to be at the opposite poles of art; the
dramatic realism of the former is in strong opposition to the classic
idealism of the latter. The works of both have been used as book
illustrations, but neither of them can be called book decorators, their
engraved works being produced as plates, or as a series of pictures, and
the text of the books written merely in explanation of the plates.

The poet and highly imaginative artist, William Blake, in his designs
for his “Songs of Innocence” (1789), and in his “Book of Job,” reverts
to the old missal-painters’ manner of embodying together the text,
ornament, and miniatures, in one decorative scheme of unity, in the
artistic treatment of the page. Blake engraved his own designs, and
printed them off in black and white, or sometimes in colour.

During the later years in which steel engravings for books were in
fashion, the revived art of wood-engraving was making a slow headway
towards recognition and favour in England, and its complete revival was
owing to the persistent efforts and genius of Thomas Bewick (1753-1828).
Bewick was not only a wood-engraver and a craftsman of the highest
order, but was an artist gifted with a fine feeling for humour and
pathos, and many of his small compositions are characterized by a good
deal of pictorial effect. His best works, from a technical point of
view, are his illustrations of natural history, the finest of which are
the illustrations in his book, the “History of British Birds,” which
show Bewick at his best in the rendering of bird form and feather
texture. He also designed and executed many dainty little compositions
of landscapes with figures and animals as tailpieces.

The school of Bewick, formed of his pupils and others, served to keep
alive the art of wood-engraving until the revival was assured, for
Bewick had a difficult task to get the public to appreciate his work
during his lifetime.

The names of his principal pupils were Luke Clennel, who was the most
celebrated, and who was also a good water-colour painter; Charlton
Nesbitt, Robert Johnson, and William Harvey.

A self-educated engraver of some note was Robert Branston, of Lynn,
Norfolk (1778-1827).

John Thompson was a pupil of Branston, who excelled his master, and was
the best engraver of his time in England.

A great name among English wood-engravers is that of William J. Linton,
who has done more by his work and pen to advance the art than any one.
His best work was executed about the middle of this century,
particularly in the engravings of Rossetti’s designs for Tennyson’s
poems (1857-59). He is also known as a writer and designer of
considerable power.

A pupil of his—Mr. Walter Crane—whose work is so well known and admired
in the present day, has designed some fine decorative work for book
illustration. His children’s books are good examples of colour and
design, but perhaps his own poem, “The Sirens Three,” where he has
designed and executed the lettering and beautiful decoration, best
fulfils the conditions of what a decorated page ought to be, and maybe
ranked as one of his greatest efforts in book decoration.

The late Randolph Caldecott, whose characteristic humour appears in
every line of his work, was another great designer of children’s books.
His colouring is very harmonious and refined, and though his work is
mostly of a pictorial character, yet in his larger pages he displays a
true feeling for the decoration of the page.

Children’s illustrated books of fairy tales have multiplied very much of
late years, and in many of them is seen some of the old decorative
feeling, where the text and illustrations are considered in an artistic
relation to each other. This will also be noticed in many illustrations
to poems which often appear in the monthly magazines of the present day.

On the other hand, picture illustrations and scrappy designs of the
vignette order are very common.

These are generally inserted, without any apparent order, on any part of
the page, and the type matter filled into the vacant spaces. This
picture-screen method of book, newspaper, and magazine illustration has
no doubt been developed by our recent acquaintance and infection with
Japanese art, which, though highly artistic and decorative in many
senses, is wanting in balance of mass, and is only occasionally right in
arrangement of line. Japanese decoration as such is generally charming,
but when the Western designer copies the Japanese ideas without the
style and methods of execution, the result may have novelty to recommend
it, but otherwise it is a failure.

It is hardly necessary to say that the reign of wood-engraving is almost
now at an end as far as book illustration is concerned, and, like steel
engraving, has nearly become an art of the past, owing to the great
advance made in recent years in the many methods of black and white
reproduction, which is mainly due to the powerful help and agency of





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                           Transcriber’s Note

Some inconsistencies in formatting conventions have been corrected,
without further mention. Occasionally, diacritical marks are used (or
not used) inconsistently as well, and has been made regular to
facilitate searches.

The compound word ‘salt-cellar’ is given both with and without the
hyphen. They have been retained as printed.

Any errors deemed most likely to be the printer’s have been corrected,
and are noted here. The references are to the page and line in the
original. The following issues should be noted, along with the

  xiv.16   Salt-cell[e/a]r, portions of, by Pierre        Replaced.
  11.f8    Earthe[r]nware Plaque; Alcora Ware.            Removed.
  83.19    The glaze gives a slight[l]y uneven surface    Inserted.
  167.4    plated with gold[.]                            Restored.
  272.6    This celebrated furnitu[t/r]e                  Replaced.
  319.18   for g[e]orgeous colouring                      Removed.
  361.33   there [has] been several attempts              _sic_: have
  382.4    known as “flügelgläs[s]er”                     Removed.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Historic Ornament, Vol. 2 (of 2) - Treatise on decorative art and architectural ornament" ***

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