Swags of foliage  

The fluted pilasters carved with urns in the centre, an uniquely Irish characteristic, found mostly in Dublin. The scagliola panels which consist of pale green and blue foliage are in the manner of Pietro Bossi, an Italian stuccadore resident in Dublin between 1785 and 1798.

Item Particulars

DimensionsCMInches
Width: 180 71
Depth: 17 7
Height: 139 55

Peter Bossi

Peter Bossi is believed to have been an Italian craftsman working in Dublin from 1785 until 1798, when he was allegedly implicated in the revolutionary movement and forced to leave.  The Dublin trade directories describe him as “inlayer in Marble and Stucco-worker” and list that he worked from No. 22 and later, No. 38 Fleet Street.  It is said that Bossi jealously guarded the secret of his method and took every precaution against his work being imitated.  In some accounts he is said to have been patronised by a wealthy Irish nobleman who attempted to discover the mysterious process.   

When Bossi realized that he was being spied on, he left the country immediately.  Whether it was this or the revolutionary movement that forced him to go will never be known.  Certainly, it does seem a little unlikely that he was the only man who understood the inlayering process since the style and method of making these mantelpieces is so similar to 17th century Florentine inlaid marble work.  Such work was usually made by chiseling out the white marble ground in defined patterns and filling up the grooves with coloured marble compositions or earth pastes of various colours.  The designs were Adam style patterns, usually of naturalistic leaves and flowers.