Making Magnificence Architects, Stuccatori, and the Eighteenth-Century Interior Christine Casey

Publication date:
01 May 2017
Yale University Press
328 pages: 273 x 203mm
175 color + 50 b-w illus.

This book tells the remarkable story of the craftsmen of Ticino, in Italian-speaking Switzerland, who took their prodigious skills as specialist decorative plasterworkers throughout Northern Europe in the 18th century, adorning classical architecture with their rich and fluent décor.  Their names are not widely known – Giuseppi Artari (c.1690–1771), Giovanni Battista Bagutti (1681–1755), and Francesco Vassalli (1701–1771) are a few – but their work transformed the interiors of magnificent buildings in Italy, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Britain, and Ireland.  Among the interiors highlighted in this deeply researched, beautifully illustrated volume are Palazzo Reale in Turin, Upper Belvedere in Vienna, St. Martin in the Fields in London, the Radcliffe Camera in Oxford, Houghton Hall in Norfolk, and Carton House in Ireland.

Christine Casey is associate professor in architectural history, and the head of the Art Department, at Trinity College Dublin.

“Brilliantly illuminating book manages the rare feat of seeming equally at home in complex stylistic, technical or iconographic analysis while being keenly attuned to the human details of migrant craftsmen’s lives.”—William Laffan, World of Interiors

"A ravishing, erudite book … flawlessly researched and entertainingly written”—Nicky Haslam, Spectator June 2017

"Lucid and incisive […] deftly explores the relationship between stucco decoration and the architecture it served, as well as the creative relationship between architects and stuccatori." —Jeremy Musson, The Art Newspaper July/August 2017

"Magnificence indeed: this is one of the most sumptuous books of architectural history in recent years."—John Martin Robinson, Country Life 19 July 2017

“This splendid volume immerses us in a critical but overlooked episode in the history of Baroque and Rococo art.”—Gauvin Alexander Bailey, Burlington