Scagliola Panel

Trompe l’œil, signed

Amedeus Sayter F(ecit)

Rome, circa 1730

Scagliola, bird’s eye maple veneer on oak and pine wood.

Height: 37 cm (14.6 inch)
Width: 46 cm (18.1 inch) Ref No: 1776

A rare and masterly worked Italian trompe l’oeil scagliola panel signed ‘Amadeus Sayter F’ (ecit), depicting a red-chalk drawing of a bear hunting scene laying on a marble top.

Scagliola tops were highly prized by aristocratic travellers who acquired them during their Grand Tour in the 18th and early 19th centuries. The present panel was placed as a table top around 1800 in an elegant guéridon, veneered with bird’s eye maple with one central frieze drawer, enclosing a gilt-tooled leather writing slide. Measurements of the table: height: 29 1/2 inch, depth: 16 1/2 inch, width: 19 3/4 inch.

Pietro and Amedeo Seyter:

The Seyter family had German origins and the first artist in the family was Daniele Seyter, born in Vienna in 1649 who died in Turin in 1705. He had three relatives working in the scagliola medium: Pietro, Amedeo and Tarsilla Vittoria Seyter who were all active in Rome in the 18th century.

Their scagliola work is characterised by the simulation of engravings. As with scagliola panels which were made in Carpi, the Seyter brothers used only two colours, usually red with cross-hatching on a white background. Their work also simulated paper and marble by the effective use of trompe l’oeil. Amedeo was active between 1712 and 1734 in Turin and Rome, he preferred views of landscapes with rivers and also "capricci" with Roman ruins.

The scagliola technique has been used since Roman times initially to imitate marble and later pietre dure. It is composed of pulverised selenite from the Appennini Mountains in Emilia and Tuscany called lapis specularis or pietre di luna which is then ground down and mixed with lime. This mixture is then placed on to a stone support and inlaid with a composition of coloured scagliola and graphite.