A fine micromosaic brooch,
Lot 21
A fine micromosaic brooch,
Sold for £12,500 (US$ 21,010) inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
A fine micromosaic brooch, circa 1830
The rectangular plaque of minute polychrome tesserae depicting a fox biting the neck of a mallard duck, on the banks of a wooded waterway with rolling countryside in the near distance, engraved on reverse "this mosaic was worked by Barbieri of Rome", brooch fitting probably later, length including frame 6.6cm, fitted case by Mayer, 68 and 70 Lord Street, Liverpool


  • The highly skilled and specialised technique of micromosaic, whereby miniature pictorial scenes are made up from minute coloured glass tesserae, each one representing a tiny brushstroke, was developed by the Vatican Mosaic Workshop at the end of the 18th century. By the 19th century several micromosaic studios existed in Rome producing first-class works, often bought by tourists as portable souvenirs. This micromosaic is one such example and the engraving later added as an aide memoir. Foxes and their prey were popular subjects and executed with great skill by a number of artists who were inspired by the animal painter Wenceslaus Peter (1742-1829) whose paintings could be seen in Rome. Although the engraving on the back of the brooch attributes the micromosaic to Barbieri, presumably a misspelling of the famous mosaicist Barberi, in style and subject matter the mosaic is closer to Antonio Aguatti who was noted for his realistic mosaics of animals and his use of shaped tesserae and combinations of more than one shade in a single thread to suggest texture and movement.

    For similar examples see Hugh Tait (ed), "The Art of the Jeweller, A Catalogue of the Hull Grundy Gift to the British Museum", London, 1984, no 934 and Jeanette Hanisee Gabriel, "The Gilbert Collection Micromosaics", London, 2000, nos 117 and 143.
  1. Kristian Spofforth
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