Box, with micromosaic picture of dog

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made in Italy

Postcard of Box, with micromosaic picture of dog.
© National Museums Scotland

Box, with micromosaic picture of dog

This circular granodiorite box is decorated with a micromosaic of a dog. It was made in Italy in the late 18th or early 19th century.

The small cube-shaped tesserae are laid in straight rows.

Micromosaics are built up of hundreds or thousands of minute tessarae - cubes or chips - of coloured glass. They were developed by mosaicists employed by the Vatican Mosaic Workshop who began to fear for their jobs as orders for large-scale mosaics began to dry up in the 1750s. The credit for their invention is generally given to Giacomo Raffaelli (1753-1836), an employee of the Vatican Workshop. He exhibited his work in his private studio in the Piazza di Spagna in 1775. A later guidebook reveals that there were at least twenty mosaic workshops in the vicinity of the Piazza around 1873-4, all frequented by tourists.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-000-098-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0504: National Museums Scotland Part 2
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  A.1872.25.9 A
Date: Late 18th or early 19th century
Material: Porphyritic lava, figure of a dog in mosaic
What: Box cover
Subject: Lava
Where: Italy, Rome
Description: Cover for a circular box of porphyritic lava, with the figure of a dog in mosaic: Italian, Rome
  • Evans, G. Souvenirs From Roman Times to the Present Day. Edinburgh: NMS Publishing Ltd, 1999, pp 26-7. 
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