Friday, October 2, 2009

Favorite Design Element: Framed Intaglios

Image via Quatrefoil Design

From the first time I saw a framed intaglio, I thought is was the perfect combination of sculpture and art.

An intaglio is a figure or design carved into stone or a hard material. "Intaglios, cameos, and medals were popular among collectors in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Skilled engravers copied such artefacts from the classical world, reproductions were made in paste and glass, and collectors bought them not only for display, but to study classical Greece and Rome. Additionally new medals and intaglios were as popular with collectors, who bought them to commemorate, and to show an affinity with the contemporary events and personalities depicted in them: battles, parliamentary acts, political campaigns, and philosophers, statesmen, soldiers, sailors, poets, writers."(from the UCL Bentham Project)

Framed intaglios are incredibly versatile, and can be used in just about every room of the house (a friend of mine even has some in her bathroom, and they are gorgeous in there). They look just as good hung in small groups as they do in large groups, but I am always a fan of a large, dramatic group!

In this streamlined design, designer Jim Hawes of Caldwell-Beebe uses large scale frames with a single intaglio to great effect (there are two frames over the chest). Love that lamp - it costs a small fortune, but it is truly like a little sculpture.


Betty Burgess makes a big statement with these framed intaglios mounted on lilac colored silk. The sheer number of the framed intaglios makes this room exceptional!


A lovely display of framed intaglios above twin beds at the Mrs. Howard store. (a quick snapshot with my iphone).


I am not sure where this photo comes from - (edit: a readers tells me it is the Shabby Slips store in Austin) - it was the framed intaglios above the beds that caught my eye.


A stunning arrangement of framed intaglios arranged around a Louis Phillipe mirror. I think that intaglios work so well to expand a scene - this room would not be as beautiful with just a mirror on the wall. It is the arrangement of the intaglios, with the cases and the mirror, that makes this vignette work. Design by Womack Interiors.


This room, also by Womack Interiors, was my favorite room from a recent showhouse in Atlanta - mainly because of the framed intaglios on the wall.

In my own dining room, I used two sets of four framed intaglios (for a total of eight) to widen the scene. Adding the framed intaglios to my dining room really elevated the space to a new level; everyone who comes to my house comments on them.


This living room, from a real estate listing, caught my eye because of the framed intaglios mounted on the horizontal over the sofa.


My neighbor hung four sets of framed intaglios above her bed.


I love everything about this room, but it was the arrangement of framed intaglios that made the biggest impression on me. Design by Amy Morris.


A room by Suzanne Kasler has a series of six framed single intaglios mounted on an aqua color silk (a color repeated in the pillows).


Another Suzanne Kasler vignette - she was one of the very first to use intaglios as a decorative accessory. The edges of these intaglios are painted black for maximum contrast.


Although no photography was allowed at a recent showhouse in Atlanta, I snuck a picture of the beautiful wall of intaglios in the room designed by Suzanne Kasler. What a dramatic statement!

christmashouse.1120 j

Here is a clearer picture from Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles, where a glimpse of the framed intaglios can be seen.

Last year, I did a post on intaglios, and I still receive emails from readers asking where I found my intaglios. This inspired the creation of 'Quatrefoil Design' (click here to visit the store), an online store that a friend and I recently started. I have always dreamed of having a store, so this little virtual store has been a labor of love. It has been so much fun to see the store start to come alive! Please stop by and see the beautiful framed intaglios that we have designed for the store.

Elyse_framedLaura_framed Ansley_framed Brandon_framed

Elyse_framed Davis_framed Elyse_framed Faith_Framed

HannaRiley_framedGraham_framed Julie_framedIsabel_framed

Kendall_framed Laura_framed Maddy_framed Nate_framed

Olivia_framed Paris_Framed Charlotte_framed Sarah_framed

We are working with the most talented framer in the Southeast, and have created 22 designs available in two sizes: small (11"x14" - outer dimension 12 3/4" x 16") and large (16"x20" - outer dimension 17 5/8" x 21 5/8"). A top Atlanta designer, Judy Long of Tillman Long Interiors, was consulted to create suggested groupings for sets of 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 12, 16, or 20. I have found that they all work together quite well, and there is no right or wrong configuration, but sometimes it helps to have suggestions!


The designs can either be ordered in a hand rubbed gold frame with cream matt, or a hand rubbed silver frame with medium gray inner matt, and light gray outer matt. This silvery tone goes beautifully with the grays that are being seen more and more in interior design, and has a cool tone to it; the gold is a richer warmer option.

Taylor_framed Yancey_framed Victor_framed

There are several single intaglio designs which work well with each other, or can mix with the other designs. If they are going to be used individually or in a small set, the matt can be sized smaller to frame the intaglio more closely. Although it is hard to see in this picture, the face of the intaglio on the left is facing center, and the face of the intaglio on the right is also facing center. Little details like this make all the difference!

Best of all, the price is wholesale, but available to everyone. For the small size (outer dimension 12 3/4" x 16") : $225 each. Volume discounts are available too: $195 each for 4-9 sets; $175 each for 10-19 sets; and $165 each for 20+ sets; for the large size (outer dimension 17 5/8" x 21 5/8") $285 each for 1-3 sets; $260 each for 4-9 sets; $240 each for 10-19 sets; and $230 each for 20+ sets. Quatrefoil Design offers a courtesy discount to the trade and special stocking store price (email for more information). I have seen framed intaglios around town that are not nearly as well done, priced at $495 each -Quatrefoil Design framed intaglios are exceptionally beautiful, the framed are all custom crafted, sanded, and hand-rubbed in gold or silver; and less than half the price! Please visit the Quatrefoil Design store for more information (click here), and the companion Quatrefoil Design blog.