Scagliola has its origins in antiquity, where it was used as a highly polished cladding-like finish which both the Greeks and Romans employed.
It is a highly skilful, laborious and intriguing technique for producing interior artefacts resembling fine marbles and rare stones. The colourful form of Scagliola as it is known today was perfected in 17th century Italy, following the developments of the innovations of the Renaissance.

At its infancy and during its early years, Scagliola was used as a less expensive substitute for rare and splendid stones and as a ‘lesser’ alternative for the opulent Florentine Pietra Dura marble tops. Eventually however, under the determined hand of accomplished craftsmen, Scagliola acquired such an excellent reputation and level of esteem and was perfected to such a degree, that it was extensively used on most grand interior schemes.

During the 18th and 19th centuries it was employed on a grand scale in the most important private as well as public buildings throughout Europe, eventually spreading to other continents such as Australia and North America. Most highly regarded architects that were commissioned to design an important house would more than likely specify Scagliola as an essential element amongst the usually lavish decorations – Scagliola was the sought after finish and a must have if you were amongst the aristocracy of the time!

We can usually see excellent examples of Scagliola in the form of columns, pilasters and pedestals, alongside cladding panels, table tops and inlaid chimneypieces. Unique Lapis Lazuli and magnificent vivid scarlet Scagliola columns can be found in Buckingham Palace, Siena and Verde Antique panels in Lancaster House, Spanish Brocatelle in Brodsworth Hall, Giallo Antiquo in Dropmore House, Porphyry octagonal columns at Raby castle, Bartoli’s amazing columns at The Spencer House, and at Stowe House, as well as nine metre tall, colossal pilasters at The Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester, by Bellman, Ivey and Carter.
These are just a handful of well known buildings in the U.K where the beauty of Scagliola remains and will be cherished for generations to come.