Scagliola Colours & Styles


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). Siena can also be used in the manufacture of door surrounds and panel mouldings.


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 the 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 closely match the remaining marble. Scagliola was used because real marble of the same quality could no longer be found.


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. 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.


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, its cost and rarity means that it is mostly used in laminate form to create small artefacts only, 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 large and small scale projects, including a corridor of small pilasters at Aspinalls in Mayfair.


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 is capable of imitating granite closely, using special techniques for achieving the particulate finish. 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.


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 laminated sheets of Verde Antico. 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 in 1992.


This marble is also known as black and gold (see no. 25), 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.


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, which were recently restored by Hayles and Howe and can still be seen. Hayles and Howe also supplied a set of Lapis Lazuli pilasters to Aspinalls in Mayfair and the supporting columns for a font at St. Winefride’s Church in Wimbledon.


This terra-cotta coloured marble has always been popular for interiors, and is still used today for walls and floors. It is often used as an inlay, as in the floor at the Athenaeum in 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.


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.


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 and other beige stones (see nos.15 and 27). Hayles and Howe have often used it for column bases and capitals, and moulded door surrounds.


The background colouring for this scagliola is very similar to the Light Siena (Pale Range no. 3), though in this case the veining was much reduced at a client’s request. One of the great advantages of scagliola is the ability to fine-tune the colours and figuring of a marble to bring it into line with other elements in a decorative scheme.


This close grained vibrant green scagliola brings pieces alive when used as an inlay. This is a pure version of Russian Malachite, without the black veining that appears in sample no. 4. The figuring is also much tighter, making it a very close match with the real stone. Hayles and Howe used this scagliola to supply a set of altar columns to the Armenian Church in London and went on to make a stunning fireplace surround for a client in northern Quebec. The intensity of the green makes it suitable for smaller objects, such as urns and decorative panels.


Travertine can vary from off-white to a beige brown colour (hence the Italian ‘Noce’/ nut), and is popular for floors and kitchen and bathroom surfaces. While those applications are not a natural choice for scagliola, Hayles and Howe are often asked to match real Travertine marble with scagliola door-surrounds, column capitals, bases and plinths.


The translucent quality of a semi-precious amethyst quartz is (sadly) not possible to achieve with a gypsum based material. However, the colours themselves can be copied, and with the right texture and figuring an interesting and appealing scagliola can be produced. Hayles and Howe are often asked to replicate fine marbles and semi precious stone as well as creating new and individual concepts for scagliola which have no relation to real marble. Many of the blue and red scagliolas which were used in Catholic churches of the 18th century for their religious significance bear no relationship to a real marble. This amethyst inspired piece was created to form inlaid panels in a scagliola table-top.


A designer asked Hayles and Howe to come up with a really intense red scagliola. It was decided to base the composition on a French ‘Griotte’ marble, known in this country as Cherry Red. Like Malachite, it has a strong presence, and works well for inlays and smaller decorative objects.


Verona Rossa is a popular marble with designers and architects, and it comes in a variety of different shades and textures. Over the years Hayles and Howe have matched several versions of Verona Rossa experimenting continuously to make these traditional scagliolas as accurate and close to the real thing as possible. Sample 18 was copied from elements of an antique fireplace that was to be the focal point of a large Family Room; it was also used to make the sides and mouldings of a set of panelled pilasters and piers installed around the perimeter of the room.


Belgian Black marble, known as ‘Paragone’ in Italy, has always been highly valued for its deep black colour, which provides a perfect background for inlaid hardstone (Pietre Dure) work. It is also often used for column bases and plinths. The marble comes from mines in Belgium which flood for part of the year, and is expensive and not always easy to obtain in the desired quality and size. Scagliola is capable of producing a variety of different blacks which imitate the colour and shine of black marble to perfection. This is a very faithful copy of Belgian Granite, in which alabaster chips were added to emulate the small plant and shell fossil fragments found in the original.


Hayles and Howe are often asked to alter stock recipes to suit a client’s individual taste. In this case the brief was to make a standard green more organic and leafy whilst introducing some brown and red notes to the mix to pick up elements in the original decorative scheme. This is a good example of the versatility of scagliola, and the way it can be used to ‘tweak’ nature.


Quarried on the Greek island of Tinos, this dark green marble is very popular in the production of work tops and interior panelling. It is also often used for decorative inlays and panels in classical fireplaces. In matching this marble, the Hayles and Howe scagliola craftsmen have come up with a very true likeness of the original.


Named after the Italian town in the Tuscan alps from where it is quarried, Carrara is probably the most famous of all marbles, forever associated in the public mind with Michelangelo and the Italian Renaissance. It was used extensively throughout Europe and beyond for both sculpture and building – our own Marble Arch in London is made from Carrara marble. In the seventeenth century off-white scagliola mixes were used alongside marble to repair or copy recently excavated Roman antiquities. Hayles and Howe successfully colour matched an antique, Carrara marble chimney piece that had yellowed with age, using a traditional Carrara scagliola mix with the addition of a subtle yellow pigment.


This striking breccia marble with its dramatic figuring and deep red and purple colours is mined in France and Italy. It has always been associated with grand Baroque architecture; examples can be seen in the State Dining Room at Blenheim Palace and the Gaming Salon at Versailles. It was very popular with the Medici Grand Dukes, and appears in palaces and churches throughout Italy. There is an extremely fine eighteenth century Brèche Violette, scagliola altar surround made by Paolo Caprani in the church of San Benedetto, Ramponio, a small town above Lake Como which was the inspiration for this scagliola sample.


This rose pink mineral with a black vein is found in exotic locations: the Urals in Russia, Broken Hill in Australia, and – only a few miles down the road from the Hayles and Howe scagliola workshops in Devon. More normally associated with jewellery and small decorative objects, it was imitated by British scagliolists in the first half of the nineteenth century to create the upper walls of the magnificent scagliola stair-hall in London’s Lancaster House.


Like the Giallo Siena (light no. 13) this piece has a similar background – in this case black – to a standard Porto Oro, but again with considerably reduced veining. This version was used to supply a set of columns to a client in New Orleans, who was very insistent that the appearance of the veining should be uniform and not too busy – something impossible to guarantee with a real marble.


Verona Rossa is a popular marble with designers and architects, and it comes in a variety of different shades and textures. Over the years Hayles and Howe have matched several versions of Verona Rossa experimenting continuously to make these traditional scagliolas as accurate and close to the real thing as possible. Sample 26, like 18, was developed from elements of an antique fireplace that was to be the focal point of a large Family Room; it was also used to make the sides and mouldings of a set of panelled pilasters and piers installed around the perimeter of the room.


Like Crema Marfil and Travertine, Portland scagliola is often used for bases, capitals, and door surrounds. The neutral tones also provide an excellent background for setting off stronger colours. Hayles and Howe made eight monumental scagliola urns to sit above the Siena columns at Tusmore House using a Portland scagliola for the main bodies, which were then dressed with swags and leaf decorations in Siena.


Scagliola is particularly good at imitating granite, and over the years Hayles and Howe have built up an extensive and stunning range to suit most requirements. By adjusting the colour, size and ratio of the various ‘crumbs’ that go to make up the mix almost any granite can be copied. This version was used to make the mouldings for the restored Egyptian Room at Goodwood House.