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Article

Trevor Proudfoot

Material most commonly used as a cheaper alternative to stone. Occasionally, its special properties make it a preferred but more expensive choice to stone. In its simplest form, artificial stone is an ashlar covering for buildings (e.g. 18th-century terraced houses by John Nash). It is found in its most sophisticated form as the component of numerous 19th-century terracotta or cement-based sculptures.

The earliest and simplest form of artificial stone is the lime-and-gypsum plaster used to decorate the walls of Egyptian tombs. These facings were predominantly of gypsum plaster lined and painted to simulate the texture of stone. In ancient Rome, renders (first coats of plaster) had a similar design and purpose, although they were applied to a wider variety of buildings. The incorporation of lime, pozzolana, additives of volcanic ash, sherds of pottery and brick dust strengthened the mortars and gave them greater durability. The renders were often painted to increase the illusion that actual stone was used (...

Article

Rupert Featherstone

Tool with a hard, smooth, tip, mounted in a wooden handle, used for smoothing or polishing. In water gilding, a burnisher of polished agate is used to smooth the underlying gesso and bole after the gold is applied, giving a highly reflective surface. Burnishers used to burnish ancient pots are depicted in Egyptian wall paintings from the 14th century ...

Article

Gordon Campbell

Copper-green stone. In ceramics, the term denotes a glaze used to create pottery with the copper-green colour of malachite. Powdered malachite was long used in wall painting, but is only rarely used in easel painting. Deposits of malachite were discovered in Siberia in 1635, and thereafter malachite vessels were produced in the Kremlin workshops. Objects made of malachite were fashionable in the first half of the 19th century, reaching their technical height from 1830 to 1840 with ten columns (h. 9 m) for St Isaac's Cathedral in St Petersburg (in situ), but also being used for table-tops and other decorative items such as urns (e.g. the massive malachite urn presented to George IV by the Tsar; Windsor Castle, Royal Col.). Later in the century Carl Fabergé used malachite for small objects.

N. Guseva and others: ‘Diplomatic Gifts from Tsar Nicholas I of Russia to the Duke of Wellington’, ...

Article

Gordon Campbell

[objets de vertu]

Decorative work in a fine material (e.g. glass, porcelain, semi-precious stones, silver or gold) that is attractive because of its antiquity, beauty and quality of workmanship. ‘Vertu’ (It. virtù) refers to a taste for curios or other works of art. The traditional form objets de vertu combines French and English spellings; as the Italian sense of ...

Article

[It.: ‘scratched’]

Term applied to ceramics, fresco decoration and painting to describe the use of a sharpened tool to score or scrape designs through an opaque coating, to reveal either the base fabric or a secondary colour beneath. Sgraffito has been mainly used in ceramics, where the cut channels were sometimes inlaid with slip or glaze of different colours for contrast. The effect of sgraffito is to emphasize decorative motifs or to outline forms.

See also Graffiti; Façade decoration §II; Punch; and Fresco.

Byzantine Glazed Ceramics: The Art of Sgraffito (exh. cat. by D. Papnikola-Bekirtze; Thessaloniki, Mus. Byz. Cult., 1999) B. J. Walker: The Ceramic Correlates of Cecline in the Mamluk Sultanate: An Analysis of Late Medieval Sgraffito Wares (Ottawa, 2000) Le facciate a sgraffito in Europa e il restauro della facciata del Palazzo Racani-Arroni in Spoleto atti della giornata di studio, Spoleto, 23 settembre 2000 (exh. cat. Centro intaliano di studi sull’alto Medioevo, 2001)...

Article

Gordon Campbell

Article

Tile  

Bernadette Nelson, M. Leticia Sánchez Hernández, Bruce Tattersall, Hans van Lemmen and Cleota Reed

Thin slab of fired clay used for covering roofs, floors, walls, stoves and chimney-pieces; they can be either square, rectangular, hexagonal, cruciform or star-shaped, so that they can be fitted together to form a mosaic or tile-panel. The most commonly used material for decorative tiles is glazed ...

Article

Gordon Campbell

Article

Trail  

Gordon Campbell

Article

Gordon Campbell