Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Fascination - Intaglios

Boxed Sets of Antique Plaster Intaglios from Grand Tour Holidays

I first came across intaglios (pronounced: in-tal-yos) while vacationing in Europe one summer.  I was immediately entranced by the chalky white plaster images of classical mythological stories.  Although I could not convince my hubby to let me purchase some reproductions to bring back (he is always the practical one - “they will be broken before we get home!”) - over the years, my fascination remained and I finally scored a boxed set of antique plaster intaglios during an antiquing trip to Maine.  Plaster intaglios were marketed in Italy during the 18th and 19th centuries as souvenirs for wealthy American and English tourist as keepsakes of their European Grand Tour holidays.  The small plaster medallions were mounted into books and each medallion was documented with beautiful handwritten notations.
via Swedishdekor

via Swedishdekor

Plaster intaglios are technically not intaglios at all, but rather considered cameos as the relief is carved outward rather than into the plaster.  They make gorgeous accents for interior design as their chalky white designs are so classical in nature.  Antique intaglios are rather expensive and difficult to find, but reproductions are abundantly available today and go with most any decor.  As part of my kitchen family room renovation, I am planning to finally frame a grouping of my antique intaglios to go over some boxwood topiaries that flank a biblioteque in the family room.

Italian Glass Intaglio Fobs

The shanks/bales of these reproduction glass intaglio fobs are taken from Italian antique fobs 
Since I have always been enamored with intaglios, it will come as no surprise that I also love intaglio fobs.  Intaglio fobs were worn as little charms when men wore pocket watches and were also frequently used to individualize wax seals on letters and documents.  Although many antique fobs are made of carved stone, glass intaglios were also a very popular item.  The subject of the intaglio carvings included monograms, family crests, little verses, animals, flowers and mythological images.

As part of my recent trip to Boston, I arranged a meeting with the US rep for an Italian line of antique reproduction glass fobs.  Our meeting was like being in a  candy store - and it was VERY difficult to limit myself to just a handful to get started.  These intaglio fobs will become part of a new jewelry group called the Grand Tour CollectionAlthough I have not had a chance to make them up just yet, I thought you might like to see a preview of what will be coming in the near future.  If there is something that catches your eye - shoot me an email - I will be happy to work with you to create a custom design for a necklace or bracelet.                     


Karena said...

Karen,the intaglios are so intriguing and I adore the Italian glass!

I have a New Giveaway from the French Basketeer I think you will love!

Art by Karena