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A 19th Century Scagliola Inlaid Chimneypiece of Good Proportions

The breakfront moulded shelf is supported by a frieze with fluted scagliola details, resembling a light blue marble inlay. The same fluted detail is repeated on the jambs, surmounted by cornerblocks carved with paterae. The tablet at the centre of the frieze shows a classical urn with rams heads at the side, the portrait of a female figure at centre of the vessel and garlands inbetween.

The scagliola technique was invented during the 17th century to offer a more accessible alternative to the Italian Pietre Dure compositions. It involves the use of adhesives and pigments, and the result resembles marble inlays on architectural elements such as columns or fireplaces.

The design of this chimneypiece is typical of the architect Robert Adam, and because of its simple elegance it was often introduced in Neoclassical interiors. Another similar example is the fireplace in the Garden Room in the Shugborough Estate, Staffordshire.