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Title: Scagliola Console Tabletop with a Seascape
Date: c.1746-1750
Medium: Inlaid selenite coloured plaster composition
Credit Line: Milltown Gift, 1902
Object Number: NGI.12257
DescriptionPietro Belloni was a Benedictine monk of the Vallombrosa monastery near Florence. He learned his craft from his abbot, Erico Hugford, who refined the uncommon art of 'scagliolo' composition. This technique, which appears to have started in Italy in the late Renaissance time as a substitute for real marble, consisted of plaster made by pulverised selenite stone, mixed with glue and colour.

In the first half of the 18th century, the creation of scagliola surfaces to decorate furniture found a new life and the commission of these attractive table-tops also became popular among wealthy Irish and British tourists who were visiting Italy.

This example, one of a pair, was ordered by Joseph Leeson, later Earl of Milltown, in 1744, during his first visit to Florence. Apparently, Pietro Belloni took a long time to finish this work, which presumably he completed in 1748.

(National Gallery of Ireland: Essential Guide, 2008)

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