Introduction

According to a booklet describing a recent exhibition of Italian archeological jewelry, the "Roman goldsmith Fortunato Pio Castellani (1794-1865) revived the Etruscan 'lost' art of granulation, resulting in one of the most significant contributions to the history of jewelry making. His sons, Allessandro (1823-1883) and Agosto (1829-1914), assumed the management of the family firm in the 1850s and marked the archeologically inspired jewelry with great success, garnering widespread acclaim through their participation in numerous international exhibitions. The Castellani were also active in the cultural and political life of their country, holding various public offices and participating in the vigorous 19th-century antiquities market" ("Winter 2005 Public Programs," Bard Graduate Center, p. 23).

This Italian archeological jewelry, whose popularity obviously received a great boost from the popular paintings of Alma-Tadema, Leighton, and other Classical Revivalists, was also popular with Pre-Raphaelite artists, too. William Holman Hunt, for example, bought his wife a Roman-inspired ring. According to Geoffrey C. Munn, Allessandro Castellani opened a branch of the firm at 13 Frith Street, London.

According to the Wartski website (which has an online gallery of this jewelry), "The firm was quickly to acquire an independent reputation under its manager Carlo Giuliano (1832-1895) and, after his death, control of the business passed to his son, Arthur Giuliano (1864-1914). At first jewellery was made for resale to prominent retail houses, but in 1874 Giuliano opened shop at 115 Piccadilly and won the patronage of Queen Victoria, and later, of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. Giuliano's work was also popular amongst the artistic community, and the firm was asked to make up jewellery to the designs of Sir Edward Burne-Jones and Charles Ricketts, the book illustrator. William Holman-Hunt also shopped there, and there is strong evidence to suggest that Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema used jewels by Giuliano in his work derived from Classical sources. The interest in these two firms lies both in their use of a fascinating range of materials and techniques and in their interpretation of antique sources to create jewellery in the spirit of nineteenth-century eclecticism." [Geoffrey C. Munn]

Exhibitions

Bibliography

Flower, Margaret. Victorian Jewelry. New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1951.

Gere, Charlotte. Victorian Jewelry Design. Chicago: Henry Regenery: 1972.

Munn, Geoffrey C. Castellani and Giuliano: Revivalist Jewellers of the Nineteenth Century. London: Trefoil, 1984.

Soros, Susan Weber, and Stefanie Walker. The Castellani and Italian Archeological Jewelry. New Haven: Yale UP, 2004.

O'Day, Dierdre. Victorian Jewelry. London: Letts, 1982.


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Last modified 29 November 2004