The art of sgraffito was much practised in Italy. It was specially revived by an artist named Morto da Feltri, who appears to have rediscovered the method during an excavation of Roman antiquities undertaken by the Medici family. On many of the tombs then uncovered examples of early Roman sgraffito work were found. Not merely did Morto da Feltri copy the old method, but he also imitated the style of design he found there. These decorations were known as "grottesche" — whence our word "grotesque." After he had revived the craft it was much used in Florence and in England until the time of Henry VIII., when it was forgotten entirely until the late F. W. Moody again revived it in decorations for South Kensington Museum and other buildings. — Gleeson White 4 (1898): 156

WHEN the history of the new and powerful movement in decorative art of the last twenty years comes to be written, the name of Francis Wollaston Moody should not be forgotten as the originator of ideas which have in some measure influenced the decorative art of his time. . . . The method of teaching [he] employed was so novel that it attracted ureal attention amongst those who were interested in teaching art at that time. M. Galland, the celebrated Parisian painter and designer, and Professor of Decorative Art in the École des Beaux-Arts, paid several visits to the studio, as did many eminent men from Germany, Holland, and other countries. The effect of this teaching has been considerable: perhaps more in stimulating a true enthusiasm for study than in forming a set style. His pupils can be found in almost all branches of decorative and artistic work, in manufactures as well as amongst the artists of merit who have made their names on the walls of the Academy or in our water-colour galleries. — Owen Gibbons, 404, 408

F. W. Moody’s design and an executed panel. Left: >Chemistry [?]<. Right: Architecture and the Construction Industry. [Click on images to enlarge them.]

Works in Sgraffito

Designs for Sgraffito panels for Science Schools, South Kensington

Works in Other Media


Gibbons, Owen. “An Art Teacher: The Late F. W. Moody.” Magazine of Art 16 (1896): 404-08. Internet Archive online version of a copy in the University of Toronto Library. Web. 30 January 2018.

White, Gleeson. “The Work of Heywood Sumner. I. Graffito Decorations.” International Studio. 4 (1898): 153-63. Online version Available from the Hathi Trust Digital Library online version of a copy in the University of Minnesota Library. Web. 1 January 2018

Last modified 27 January 2018