Scagliola

Jilly Bernard  Scagliola Artist

Scagliola is a technique developed in late 16th century in Italy to imitate marble. I work in two techniques; the traditional method and a looser form developed from my Italian Fresco training.

Scagliola is a technique developed in late 16th century in Italy to imitate marble. I work in two techniques; the traditional method and a looser form developed from my Italian Fresco training.

Scagliola Artist

Private Commissions

Scagliola Artist

Private Commissions

Scagliola Artist

Private Commissions

An ancient art form

 

What is Scagliola ?

The name derives from the Italian word ‘scaglia’ which loosely translates as chips (of stone). It is a technique using the base material of plaster mixed with pigment to produce a highly polished finish, often imitating marble or other semi precious stone.

 

Its origins date back to antiquity, but the process used today has its roots in 16th and 17th century Italy, the end of the Renaissance and start of the Baroque period. There were two main schools, Carpi and Florence, with their best known exponents being respectively, Guido Fassi (1585 to 1649) and Enrico Hugford (1695 to 1771).

 

Scagliola may have started as cheaper substitute for marble or ‘pietra dura’ inlay, but it soon became recognised as an art form in itself. It spread rapidly through Switzerland and Germany to the rest of Europe and Russia. The technique was much in demand from leading architects and decorators, and distinctive schools eventually developed in England ( stucco marmo) and even America (marezzo).

 

In all cases the work was used to decorate architectural features such as columns, pedestals chimney pieces, table tops and even floors. Where specific objects were depicted, these tended to be geometric and formal classical or romantic scenes. 

Initially used in religious settings, it quickly developed into its' own art form and spread widely across Europe.

By the start of the 20th century it was less common and is now increasingly rare, with few active practitioners.