Antique Jewellery and Its Revival

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W. Clowes and Sons, 1862 - Art metal-work, Ancient - 27 pages

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Page 16 - The old Etruscan artists used mechanical agents which are now unknown to us, and were able to separate and join pieces of gold hardly perceptible to the naked eye. Modern workmen have failed in their attempts exactly to imitate the old ornaments.
Page 19 - ... these men succeeded better than all whom we had previously employed in the imitation of that freedom of style which is the peculiar characteristic of the art among the ancients.
Page 17 - ... separate pieces brought together and placed one upon the other. This it is, in my opinion, that gives it so peculiar and marked a character, derived rather from the expression, as it were, of the spontaneous idea and inspiration of the artist, than from the cold and regular execution of the workman. Its very imperfections and omissions, purposely made, give to the workmanship that artistic character altogether wanting in the greater number of modern works, which, owing to a monotonous uniformity...
Page 17 - ... the ancient jewellers knew and used chemical and mechanical agents quite unknown to us, for they were able to separate and join pieces of gold hardly perceptible to the naked eye ; in which operation our modern jewellers have not yet succeeded. Their processes of melting, soldering, and wire-drawing remain equally a problem. So that, when we consider the Greek and Etruscan granulated and filigree works in gold, even leaving aside the elegance of the forms and the skill shown in chasing, we are...
Page 17 - ... our first step was to search after the methods of fabrication employed in ancient times. We observed that all the jewels, except those intended for funeral ceremonies, instead of owing their raised parts to chiselling or engraving, were formed by separate pieces brought together and placed one upon the other by means of solder, or chemical processes. This it is, in our opinion, that gives them so peculiar and marked a character, derived from their expressing, as it were, the fresh idea and inspiration...
Page 12 - These masters, at all events, studied and used at their discretion methods totally different from the ancient. They availed themselves of the punch, burin, and chisel ; of enamels, nielli, cast ornaments and figures, and precious stones. And their best works are those in which these precious materials are combined according to the free and original fancy of the artist, without showing the slightest similarity either to ancient processes or designs.
Page 12 - ... to create new methods of working in this art, harmonizing it with the forms under which the sister arts were reviving. In confirmation of the latter view (to which we incline), we will relate the following anecdote from the Memoirs of Benvenuto Cellini. He tells us that one day Pope Paul III. showed him a gold Etruscan necklace of exquisite workmanship, which had just been accidentally discovered in the earth.
Page 24 - ... kind of cloisonne enamel, set transparently, and often mentioned in the inventories of the Merovingian kings. M. Labarte said that this kind of enamel had been in those days chiefly used to form the body of certain royal drinking tankards, for which purpose it must have answered admirably, since, in the act of drinking, the transparent polychromatic ornaments, arranged in beautiful geometric patterns, must have been visible.
Page 14 - Borne a studio for the imitation of the jewels of France and England; and it was not long before he succeeded in equalling and surpassing them. In 1826, the field in which he was engaged appearing too small for him, he turned his attention to chemical science, looking for new help, and methods which could advance his art; and in the same year he was able to give a lecture in the Academy of the...
Page 12 - it is better not to imitate these Etruscans, for we should be nothing but their humble servants. Let us rather strike out a new path, which will, at least, have the merit of originality.

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