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Scagliola - Hayles and Howe


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Hayles and Howe specialise in the restoration of Scagliola and have carried out award winning projects in both historic and new buildings throughout the world.  They also manufacture new Scagliola to fit any colour scheme, largely pedestals, table tops, wall panels and Ionic or Corinthian columns and capitals.

 Scagliola is a versatile and beautiful artificial medium that can be produced in many forms and in a wide range of colours which do not need to but can imitate those of natural minerals.  It can be used to book match or compliment any colour scheme, and is now considered to be one of the most prestigious materials in the building trade.  As it is so specialised and labour intensive it is expensive to produce and therefore each enquiry receives individual attention.

 The name Scagliola is derived from the Italian for splinters of coloured material (scaglie) which are mixed together with plaster and pigment to create a marbled effect.  Its production is time consuming and painstaking, involving a carefully regulated polishing process.   But the finished article is virtually indistinguishable from real marble, so much so that we are often asked to restore natural marbles which are no longer available.

 Our Scagliola projects in the UK include conservation of sixteen Scagliola columns in the stunning Buckingham Palace Music Room in 2009, Tusmore House for which we won the Humber Silver Salver in 2004. We also won The Crabbe Award for Goodwood House in 1998 and again for Scagliola columns in the Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace in 2003.  When receiving the Crabbe award for Buckingham Palace the judges described the work ‘as if produced by nature, consistent in design without any repetition.  Hayles and Howe’s work is very beautiful and in every respect impeccable’.  Other projects in the UK include The Reform Club, The Atheneum, Boodles, Syon House and Windsor Castle.  In the United States work includes New Jersey State Capital, Montana State Capital, Allen County Court House in Indiana and Franklin County Courthouse, Pasco, Washington State.


Scagliola was first used by the Egyptians to adorn tombs.  It has also been found in Greek, Roman and Asian civilizations. During the Renaissance Scagliola was used by Italian craftsmen as a substitute for rare and costly marble.  It was introduced to Britain, during the 18th Century in some of our most prestigious buildings.  The first complete interior carried out in Scagliola was The Riche Chapel in Munich in 1603, from there the techniques spread from Germany to Italy and subsequently across the whole of Europe and eventually the world usually surrounded by a veil of secrecy.

 Its height of popularity in England was in the eighteenth century where it was used as an exotic surface for walls, floors and table tops, culminating in the extravagant bright scarlet and imitation lapis lazuli columns in the throne room of Buckingham Palace. Scagliola as we know it today was perfected in the mid seventeenth century by Fassi. 

 In recent years Scagliola has been enjoying a revival thanks to the pioneering skills of David Hayles (Owner) who is now a leading authority on its production.  David regularly lectured and taught at The European Centre for Craft Conservation in Venice and West Dean College.

Examples of Scagliola

The following are examples of types of Scagliola and their origins that are available from our workshops, the company can also book match any colour/design that is required.

Scagliola - Sienna Mid Range Siena (Mid range)

Yellow with black veining.  This type of marble was used extensively in the decoration of churches and palaces from the seventeenth century onwards, where it was prized for its richness and warmth.  This particular version was arrived at following restoration work to two scagliola columns of early nineteenth century origin.  A very similar Siena scagliola can be seen in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.  Hayles and Howe were awarded the Plaisterer’s Trophy for its use in the salon at Tusmore House in Oxfordshire.  (Eight fluted columns with matching  pilasters, seven metres high).  We have also used it to manufacture door surrounds and panel mouldings.

Scagliola - Convent Sienna Convent Siena (Deep range)

The mining rights to this marble (also known as Siena Brocatello) were given by the Pope to a religious order of nuns in the late middle ages, hence its name.  It is very rich, with deeper colours and more intense veining than standard Siena, and was often used for inlaid marble work as well as table tops.  It can be seen in 18th century marble fireplaces, in the form of small columns and frieze panels.  This scagliola version was used to replace the missing columns on a fireplace, which had to match the remaining marble very closely.  Scagliola was used because real marble of the same quality could no longer be found.


Scagliola - Light Sienna Light Siena (Pale range)


This Siena does not have the intense veining of the other versions, and is paler and more uniform in appearance.  It has been used extensively to form columns and wall areas.  Scagliola versions can be seen in many classical English interiors, including Lancaster House and the Reform Club, and it has always been a popular colour for the manufacture of pedestals and plinths for the display of sculpture.  It was often given a red veining to simulate Giallo Antico marble, which was highly valued in ancient Rome, where it can still be seen in the Pantheon.  In 2005, Hayles and Howe supplied six giant columns in Light Siena for the refurbishment of St. Joseph’s Chapel in the Oratory Church, London.



Scagliola - Malachite Malachite


A semi-precious stone which is mined in Asia and the Far East.  It is a very bright, almost emerald green, with intense swirled and layered figuring throughout.  The largest piece in existence is smaller than the size of a man, and its cost and rarity means that it is used in laminate form to make anything other than small objects.  It often appears as an inlay in Pietre Dure tabletops.  It was very popular with the Russian Imperial Court, where it was used to laminate huge stone urns, as well as to create smaller objets d’art, such as the famous Fabergé eggs.  Hayles and Howe have developed a very realistic Scagliola version of Malachite, which has been successfully used for both large and small scale work, including a corridor of small pilasters at Aspinalls in Mayfair.


Scagliola -Porphyry Porphyry


The Romans imported this dark purple stone in vast quantities from Egypt.  The Emperors imposed a monopoly on its use, no doubt for its association with imperial purple.  It is extremely hard and difficult to work, and was used for both architecture and sculpture. Examples can be found in the British Museum and the Louvre.  During the Renaissance and Baroque periods, many Roman antiquities were dug up and ‘recycled’ to provide materials for the building and decorating of new palaces, churches and monuments.  Scagliola versions of porphyry were used in many eighteenth and nineteenth century decorative schemes to supply large columns and pilasters, unobtainable in the real material.  Porphyry scagliola was also used extensively to manufacture plinths and pedestals for the display of sculpture.  Hayles and Howe have examples of these in several national museums and galleries, including the Ashmolean in Oxford.


Scagliola - Granite Granite


Scagliola is capable of imitating granite closely, though it cannot be used outside, nor does it have the hardness required for modern floors and work surfaces.  As a decorative finish, it can be highly effective, particularly where a scheme involves the use of a large number of columns.  At Doddington Hall, James Wyatt’s last commission, the scagliola columns and pilasters in the Entrance Hall, described as ‘oriental granite’, are particularly impressive, both in size and number.  Hayles and Howe can match granite colours to existing stone or to any required colour scheme.  This sample was used to supply pilasters for a new entrance hall at Goodwood House.


Scagliola -Verde Antico Verde Antico


With Siena and Porphyry, this green marble was much favoured by the Romans.  Many of the extravagant altarpieces of the Baroque period also made lavish use of it. The columns in the East Anteroom of Syon House are made from Verde Antico, some real and some in Scagliola.  In England it was one of the most popular Scagliola marbles in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, used to give classical authenticity to the manufacture of columns, pilasters, plinths and table tops.  Hayles and Howe supplied eight large Verde Antico half columns to serve as candelabra bases in the Dining Room at Windsor Castle, as part of the restoration work after the fire.


Scagliola - Porto Oro Porto Oro


This marble is also known as black and gold, and has frequently been used for pedestals, wall panelling, and columns.  It has a strong, formal appearance, and is also often used for framing doorways or as skirting boards.  Examples can be seen at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.  Hayles and Howe have supplied many columns and pedestals in this material, both in the UK and overseas.



Scagliola - Lapis Lazuli Lapis Lazuli


This semi-precious stone from the area around Afghanistan was particularly cherished by the ancient Egyptians.  It appears in a variety of blues, with striking gold and black flecks, though the most valued was a plain deep ultramarine colour, with no markings at all.  Lapis Lazuli was used extensively by the Italian marble workers of the Renaissance and beyond, to inlay Pietra Dura table-tops and altar pieces, and to make bowls and table ornaments.  Lapis Lazuli columns made from Scagliola were used in the Music Room at Buckingham Palace, where they can still be seen.  Hayles and Howe supplied a set of Lapis Lazuli pilasters to Aspinalls, Mayfair.  They also supplied the supporting columns for a font at St. Winifride’s Church in Wimbledon.


Scagliola - Verona Rossa Verona Rossa


This terra-cotta coloured marble has always been popular for interiors, and is still used to-day for walls and floors.  It is often used as an inlay, as in the floor at the Athenaeum, London.  The Antiquarium of the seventeenth century Munich Residenz has very good examples of Verona Rossa scagliola.  In 2005, Hayles and Howe supplied curved wall panels in this material, to cover the entire circular apse area of St Joseph’s Chapel in the Oratory Church, London.



Scagliola - Blue and Cream Blue and Cream


This sample was created for a set of small library pilasters, and is not based on a real stone.  The designer needed something to match a carpet that had been specially made for the room, and which would give an idea of lapis lazuli, without having the intensity.


Scagliola - Crema Marfil Crema Marfil


This Spanish marble is often used in a modern setting, for walls and floors.  The scagliola version is very faithful to the original, and can also be adapted to resemble Travertine, Portland other beige stones.  Hayles and Howe have often used it for column bases and capitals, and moulded door surrounds.  



Hayles & Howe specialise in the restoration of scagliola and have carried out projects in historic buildings throughout the world.
This marble-like material is made from plaster, pigments and glue, burnished up to a brilliant shine.
Scagliola - Hayles and Howe



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