Pietre Dure Casket

  • This rare and extraordinary pietre dure casket exemplifies the very best of the best
  • Utilizing a 17th-century Florentine pietre dure plaque, this casket is truly a one of a kind
  • The plaque is joined by hand-engraved doré bronze mounts on the ebonized casket form
  • A perfectly matched, custom-made base accompanies the exceptional piece
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 31-0162

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This extraordinary pietre dure casket exemplifies the very best of the best in both 17th-century and 19th-century workmanship. A 17th-century Florentine pietre dure plaque, which was almost certainly fashioned at the Grand Ducal workshops of Florence, is mounted into the exceptional 19th-century ebonized casket. Intricate, hand-engraved doré bronze mounts and hardstone columns add further Neoclassical luxury to the design. Such an exceptional piece would have only been created for the most discriminating and affluent client. Most likely used as a wedding casket, it would have housed precious items given to commemorate the nuptials of someone of great importance.

Without question, the materials used in this casket were among the greatest that money could buy, and the absolute highest level of artistry went into its creation. The stones used came from every corner of the globe, and the impeccably lacquered wood indicates the time and care that went into its production. Stunning doré bronze mounts complement the unique stonework. All hardware, from the hinges to the lock, is gold-plated and expertly engraved by hand. The half mortise lock itself is a rare double strike lock, which required a much higher level of skill to manufacture.

The Medici passion for pietre dure led Grand Duke Ferdinando I de Medici to establish the Grand Ducal Workshop in 1588. The workshop became highly specialized in the ancient stonework technique, overcoming the many challenges of fashioning and assembling hardstones. Florentine production reached its zenith during this period, with expert craftsmen giving rise to the most luxurious and detailed examples to ever be produced. Thanks to the mastery of the Florentine craftsmen and the Medici influence, pietre dure peaked the interests of the powerful. Rulers such as the Hapsburgs in Prague, Louis XIV of France and Frederick II of Prussia sought these prized 17th-century works of art for their own collections. Pietre dure came to decorate everything from cabinets and caskets to frames and tiny boxes, often matched with ebony and gilded bronze. Wealthy aristocrats making their Grand Tour through Italy also acquired a taste for Florentine pietre dure; the result was incredible creations such as this impeccable casket.

Circa 1840

Casket: 24 1/2" wide x 20 1/2" deep x 15" high
Pietre Dure Casket
Period: 19th Century
Origin: Italy
Type: Caskets/Cellarettes
Depth: 20.5 Inches
Width: 24.5 Inches
Height: 15.0 Inches

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