A fine early 19th century Italian micro-mosaic Plaque of a King Charles spaniel
Lot 256
A fine early 19th century Italian micro-mosaic Plaque of a King Charles spaniel
Sold for £15,000 (US$ 25,212) inc. premium
Lot Details
A fine early 19th century Italian micro-mosaic Plaque of a King Charles spaniel
Roman school, circa 1830, in the manner of Antonio Aguatti (Italian, d. 1846),
the rectangular plaque finely inlaid with the crouching dog drinking from a bowl beside a dirt path, a lizard to the centre foreground, various wild flowers to the back and foreground including forget-me-nots, cowslips, and hearts-ease, 5.5cm x 8cm approximately, mounted within a silk lined tooled Morocco leather presentation case, 7.5cm high x 10cm wide

Footnotes

  • Panels depicting dogs were popular subjects for micro mosaicists in the 19th century due to the romantic connections associated with these animals, whereby they were seen to be symbolic of faithful love. Sir Edward Landseer's influence in the genre was highly influential in both English and Continental art of the day and this filtered through to other mediums including the workshops of the Italian micro-mosaic industry. The contemporary art critic Theophile Gautier was reported as saying that Landseer gave 'his beloved animals soul, thought, poetry and passion'.

    Cesare Aguatte was active in Rome during the end of the eighteenth century and start of the nineteenth century. Celebrated as one of the earliest mosaicists in miniature, he was also amongst the first of these artists to utilize tiny spun 'smalti' for inlaying (the Italian term meaning the enamel material composing micro-mosaic tesserae made at the Vatican workshop). He undertook various commissions including the panels of colourful animals for the Hall of Emperors at the Villa Borghese in Rome for Prince Marcantonio in 1784-5. He also undertook restoration work on the floors of the Baths of Otricoli in the Rotunda of the Pio-Clementine Museum and worked on the decoration for various mantelpieces including examples attributable to him at the Louvre in Paris.

    Literature: The Gilbert Collection, Micro-mosaics, Phillip Wilson, p. 23, 39 (pl. 16), 40, 75, 240. 281.
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