Exceptionally rare ormolu and pietra dura mounted ebony casket

Attributed to Hume, Robert Jr (English fl.1808–45)


Of rare quality and magnificence, this beautiful casket is crafted from ormolu mounted ebonised wood, with superb pietra dura hardstone embellishments.


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Crafted in England in the early nineteenth century, during the Regency-period, this superb piece is a large, exceptionally fine, and incredibly rare ormolu mounted ebonised wooden casket. The front and reverse are set with hardstone panels in Florentine pietra dura, depicting fruit, flowers and insects.

The casket is extensively adorned with elaborate gilt-bronze mounts. The delicate and charming pietra dura panels are framed with gilding, and the structural elements of the case are all cast with ormolu. The Florentine pietra dura panels feature malachite, lapis lazuli, amber and vert de mer. Caryatids stand on the four corners in small tabernacles beneath Corinthian column capitals, while lion's head mounts with handles occupy the side panels.

Grand floral friezes line the base of the casket lid, while framed cartouches and scrolling foliate elements are mounted on the corners and midpoints. Beautiful shell-shaped mounted adorn the casket on each side towards the base, and the casket stands on scrolling foliate feet. The casket opens to a sumptuously lined crimson silk interior.

It is attributed to the English Regency maker Robert Hume Jr, and may be the piece listed at Fonthill Abbey in 1823 as 'An Ebony coffer, mouted in or-moulu, pannelled with fine specimens of Florentine mosaic.' It was possibly bought by the welathy 10th Duke of Hamilton, who is known to have purchased other such works from the firm Hume & Son.

An outstanding work of craftsmanship, combining a host of stylistic influences and exquisite techniques, this casket is an unsurpassable piece of opulence and grandeur.


Artist / Maker
Attributed to Hume, Robert Jr (English fl.1808–45)
Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
Early 19th Century
Floral, Neoclassical, Regency
Ebony, Lapis Lazuli, Malachite, Marble, Ormolu (Gilt Bronze), Silk
Black, Gold, Multi-coloured


41 cm / 16.1 inches
72 cm / 28.3 inches
52 cm / 20.5 inches


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