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Treasure Hunt

Section of the pietre dure table in the Library at Charlecote Park, purchased by George Lucy from dealer Thomas Emmerson in 1824. Inv. no. 532986. ©National Trust Images/Derrick E. Witty Section of the pietre dure table in the Library at Charlecote Park, purchased by George Lucy from dealer Thomas Emmerson in 1824. Inv. no. 532986. ©National Trust Images/Derrick E. Witty

The English taste for Italian pietre dure, or hard stone mosaic work, goes way back – that much is clear from a quick perusal of the new book  Roman Splendour, English Arcadia, about the Sixtus cabinet at Stourhead.

Section of a pietre dure table-top made in Rome in about 1580, at Powis Castle, probably acquired by George Herbert, 2nd Earl of Powis, in the 1770s or 1780s. Inv. no. 1181054. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond Section of a pietre dure table-top made in Rome in about 1580, at Powis Castle, probably acquired by George Herbert, 2nd Earl of Powis, in the 1770s or 1780s. Inv. no. 1181054. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

One of the earliest examples is the so-called Great Pavement in Westminster Abbey, which was created in 1269 by the Roman craftsman Petrus Oderisius or Odericus. But many English palaces and country houses subsequently also acquired tables, cabinets and caskets incorporating pietre dure.

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First Night Design

This advertisement for Collinson & Lock is from a D’Oyly Carte programme for Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Yeoman of the Guard at the Savoy Theatre in 1888. Collinson & Lock was a prominent furniture company, founded in the 1860s by F G Collinson and G J Lock, which concentrated on Art Nouveau and Aesthetic designs.

The company’s theatrical links are fascinating. Amongst other work, Collinson & Lock were responsible for decorating the new Savoy Theatre in 1881, while their most famous designer was the architect Edward William Godwin (1833-1886) who was inspired to design for the theatre by his affair with the actress Ellen Terry when she was still married to her first husband, the artist George Frederick Watts.

The union produced two children, the distinguished theatre designer, Edward Gordon Craig (1872–1966) and the theatre director, producer, costume designer and sometime actress Edith…

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This advertisement for Collinson & Lock is from a D’Oyly Carte programme for Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Yeoman of the Guard at the Savoy Theatre in 1888. Collinson & Lock was a prominent furniture company, founded in the 1860s by F G Collinson and G J Lock, which concentrated on Art Nouveau and Aesthetic designs.

The company’s theatrical links are fascinating. Amongst other work, Collinson & Lock were responsible for decorating the new Savoy Theatre in 1881, while their most famous designer was the architect Edward William Godwin (1833-1886) who was inspired to design for the theatre by his affair with the actress Ellen Terry when she was still married to her first husband, the artist George Frederick Watts.

The union produced two children, the distinguished theatre designer, Edward Gordon Craig (1872–1966) and the theatre director, producer, costume designer and sometime actress Edith Craig (1869-1947). Some of Collinson & Lock’s pieces are on display at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah

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