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First Part.



§ 20. The white Marble which is now taken from Carrara, near the shores of Genoa, is hard and very white, and is suitable for bas-reliefs and other works of sculpture. Blocks of any size can be obtained; hard crystals are also found there.

That Marble of Carrara termed Virgin Marble is white, and is taken from the Pyrénees, on the side of Bayonne. It is finer grained than the last, glitters like a species of salt, and resembles the white antique Marble from which Grecian statues were made, but is softer, not as fine, and is apt to grow yellow and to spot. This kind is used in sculpture.

The modern black Marble is pure and spotless, like the antique, and is much harder.

The Dinan Marble, which is obtained near the city of that name, in the country of Liege, is very abundant, and of a pure and fine black. It is used for monuments, and especially for pavements.

The Marble of Namur is also very abundant, and as black as that of Dinan, but not as perfect. It has a slight bluish tinge, and is traversed by a few greyish veins. In Holland a great traffic is made of its tiles.

The Marble of Theé, which is found in the country of Liege, is entirely black, soft, and easily worked, and is susceptible of a higher polish than those of Namur and Dianan. It is, therefore, especially suitable for monumental use.

The white-veined Marble which comes from Carrara, is of a deep blue on a white ground, mixed with grey spots and small veins. This Marble is apt to spot and grow yellow; it is used for pedestals and entablatures.

The Marble of Margoire, which is brought from Milan, is very hard, and quite abundant. Its color is a blue ground, mixed with brown veins of the color of iron. A part of the dome in Milan is built of it.

The black and white Marble which is taken from the abbey of Leff, near Dinan, has a deep black ground with very white veins.

The Barbançon Marble, found in the country of Hainaut, is black, veined with white and is abundant. The shafts of the six composite columns of the canopy of Val de Grace are of this Marble.

The Givet Marble is procured near Charlemont, on the frontiers of the Luxembourg. It is black, veined with white, but more sparsely than that of Barbançon.

The Porter Marble is taken from the foot of the Alps, in the suburbs of Carrara. There are two varieties of it; the finest has a deep black ground mingled with spots and golden yellow veins; the other, with whitish veins, is less esteemed.

The Marble of Saint Maximin is a species of Porter, the yellow and black being more vivid.

The modern Serpentine Marble comes from Germany, and is more used for vases and similar ornaments than for works of architecture.

§ 21. The modern Green Marble is of two kinds; one, improperly called Egyptian Green, is found near Carrara, on the coast of Genoa. Its color is deep green, with a few white and flaxen grey spots; the other, which is called Sea Green, is of a brighter green, and veined.

The parti-colored Marble resembles the antique jasper; the finest is that which resembles it the most closely.

§ 22. The modern Lumachello Marble comes from Italy, and strongly resembles the antique, but the spots are not as distinctly marked.

The Brema Marble, also found in Italy, has a yellow ground mixed with white spots.

The Peacock-eye Marble is also brought from Italy, and is mixed with white, bluish, and red spots, somewhat resembling the sort of eyes in the feathers of the peacock, whence its name.

The Serena Marble is mixed with large spots, and grey, yellow, an reddish veins.

The Peach-blossom Marble, which is found in Italy, has white, red, and a few yellow spots.

The Marble di Vescovi, of Bishop's Marble, also found in Italy, has greenish veins, crossed by white bands-long, round, and transparent.

§ 23. The Brocatello Marble, called Spanish Brocatello, which is taken from an antique quarry of Tortosa, in Andalusia is very rare. Its color is a mixture of yellow, red, grey, pale and dove tints.

The Boulogne Marble is a kind of Brocatello which is found in Picardy, but with larger spots, mixed with a few red threads.

The Champagne Marble, resembling the Brocatello, is mixed with blue in round spots, like the eyes of a partridge; it is sometimes found shaded with white and pale yellow tints.

§ 24. The Marble of Saint Baume is brought from that part of Provence, and is of a red and white ground, mixed with yellow, and similar to the Brocatello.

The Marble of Tray, found in the neighborhood of the preceding, closely resembles it. It has yellowish ground, slightly spotted with red, and shaded with grey and white.

§ 25. The Languedon Marble has two varieties. One kind, found near the city of Cosne, in Languedoc, is very abundant. It has a dirty, vermilion-red ground, intermixed with large veins and white spots. It is used for decorations of court-yards, peristyles, archways, &c.

The Griotte Marble, so called from its resemblance to griottes, or cherries, is also taken from near Cosne, and has a deep red ground, mingled with dirty white.

§ 26. The Marble called Bleuturquin, comes from the coast of Genoa. It is of a blue ground, mixed with dirty white; it is apt to grow yellow, and it spots easily; but the casings, consoles, and hearths which are made of it are so generally used, that it has long been in vogue, and its price sustained, despite the defects of which we have spoken.

§ 27. The Serancolin was obtained from a spot called the Golden Valley, near Scrancolin. It is of a blood color, mixed with grey, yellow, and some transparent spots, like the agate; the finest is very rare, the quarry being exhausted. A few specimens of it still exist in ancient castles.

§ 28. The Campan is taken from quarries near Tarbes; there are white, red, green, and dove-color varieties, veined and spotted. The Green Campan is of a bright green, mixed only with white, and is very common. It is used for casings, tables, hearths, etc.

The Signan Marble is of a greenish brown, with red, or flesh-colored and grey spots, and a few green threads; it resembles the green Campan.

The Marble of Savoy, brought from that country, has a red ground mixed with several other colors which seem to be cemented.

The Gauchenet Marble, procured near Dinan, is of a red-white ground, spotted, and mixed with a few white veins.

The Marble of Leff, an abbey near Dinan, is of a pale red, with large stains and a few white veins. The capital of the chancel behind the canopy of the Val-de-Grace, at Paris, is of this Marble.

§ 29. The Marble of Rance, from the country of Hainaut, is very abundant. It has a dirty red ground, spotted, with blue and white veins. The principal specimens of it in Paris are the six Corinthian columns of the high altar in the Church of the Sorbonne.

§ 30. The Bourbon Marble, brought from that province, is of a bluish grey and dirty red, with veins of dirty yellow. It is generally used in compartments of pavements of saloons, vestibules, peristyles, etc.

§ 31. The Sicilian Marble is of two kinds, the ancient and the modern. The first is of a reddish brown, white and dove, with square and long spots, resembling striped taffeta; its colors are very vivid.

The Swiss Marble has a slate blue ground mixed with whitish tints.


§ 32. The White Breccia is a mixture of brown, grey and violet with large white spots.

The black, or Little Breccia, is of a grey or brown ground, mixed with black spots and little white dots, which produce but little effect.

The Golden Breccia is a mixture of yellow and white stains.

The Coraline Breccia has a few stains of a coral color.

The Violet, or modern Italian Breccia, has a reddish brown ground, with long violet veins or spots, mixed with white.

This Marble is beautiful in decorations of summerhouses, but if care is not taken of it, it loses its brilliant colors, and turns yellow. It is easily spotted by grease, wax, paint, oil, etc.

The dove-colored Breccia is a mixture of white, violet, and light spots, with large dove-colored stains. This is the Marble used for boudoirs.

The Marble of the Pyrenees has a brown ground, mixed with grey, and several other colors.

The rough Breccia-so called because it contains all the colors of the other Breccias-is a mixture of red, grey, blue, white, and black spots.

The Verona Breccia is intermingled with blue, pale red, and crimson.

The Sauveterre Breccia is a mixture of black, grey and yellow spots.

The Saravezzian Breccia has a brown and violet ground, mixed with large white and dove spots.

The little Saravezzian Breccia is called thus, only because its spots are smaller than the preceding.


§ 33. By an easy process, different colors are given to Marbles. Colors extracted from vegetables, such as saffron, Brazilian wood, cochineal, litmus, dragon's blood, etc., when joined with a suitable dissolvent, as spirits of wine, urine mixed with quick lime and soda, oils, etc., stain the Marble, and penetrate it quite deeply; but to give it stronger, more durable and penetrating colors, metallic acidulous solutions are necessary, such as aqua-fortis, spirits of salts, etc.

Artificial marble can also be made. This process is commenced by making a foundation of plaster, tempered with glue water. This foundation is covered about half an inch in thickness with the following composition:

Take foliated and transparent plaster-stone, calcine it by fire, and reduce it to a very fine powder, dilute it with strong glue-water, and add red or yellow ochre, or whatever color may be wished. The coloring should not be wholly mixed with the composition when veined Marble is desired. After this composition has been applied, and is perfectly dry, polish it by first rubbing it with fine sand, and afterwards with pumice, or trioli stone, and finish by rubbing finally with oil.

§ 34. No particular description has ever been given of the fine Marbles of the Vosges mountains. There are two varieties; the granite and red tints, and the Marbles, black, grey, and shaded with dove and rose colors. The black has a few dirty white stains; its black has a reddish cast, which somewhat detracts from its beauty. The red is striped in straight lines upon a dove ground; the grey is almost a Breccia with points, or little brown, grey, or russet shell work. These varieties are easily worked, which fact has caused the establishment of several workshops at Epinal, where a large number of tables, slabs for bureaus and secretaries, etc., are fabricated, and many smaller articles are made by the prisoners, who are thus relieved, by occupation, from the dangers of idleness.


§ 35. Marbles, like stone, has faults which will cause its rejection by the merchant who is a judge of it. They are as follows:

Stubborn Marble is that which, on account of its excessive hardness, is very difficult to work, and is apt to fly off in splinters. This is the case with most hard Marbles.

Crumbly Marble is of the nature of sandstone, and when worked, cannot retain its sharp arris; the white Grecian Marble, that of the Pyrenees, and several others, are of this nature.

The Terraced Marble has soft spots in it called terraces, which it is often necessary to fill up with mastic. The Marble of Languedoc and Hon, and many of the Breccias, are examples of this class.

The Stringy Marble is crossed by flaws; as that of Saint Baume, Serancolin, Rance, and almost all colored marbles.

The camlet Marble is that which, retaining the same color after polishing, appears tabbied, as that of Namur and some others.


§ 36. Rough Marble is that which, having been taken from the quarry in specimen blocks, or for block works, remains unworked.

Rough hewn Marble is that which is cut in the yard with the saw, or simply squared with the mallet, according to the design of the vase, statue, profile, or other work of this kind.

Outlined Marble is that which, having received a few subordinate strokes for architecture or sculpture, is worked with the double point for one and the chisel for the other.

Pierced Marble is worked with the edge of the mallet to detach the front from the back part on the outside of works of a rustic order.

Polished Marble is that which, having been rubbed first with sandstone and the beater, and afterwards with pumice stone, is polished by hand with a linen cushion and emery dust for colored, and the powder of calcined tin for white Marbles, the emery being applied to redden them. In Italy a piece of lead is used instead of linen, which is better, and imparts a finer and more durable polish to the Marble; however, this costs much more time and pains.

Soiled, tarnished, or stained Marble can be repolished in the same manner. Spots of oil, especially upon white Marble, cannot be effaced, as they penetrate it.

Lump Marble is rubbed with shave grass or the skin of the sea-dog, to give a polished surface to the subordinate parts of sculpture or architecture.

Finished Marble is that which, having received all necessary work from the hand of the artisan, is ready for its place.

§ 37. Artificial Marble is manufactured from a composition of gypsum resembling stucco, in which different colors are mixed in imitation of Marble. This composition is tolerably hard, and takes polish, but is apt to chip off. Other artificial Marbles are also made by means of corrosive tinctures upon white Marble, which penetrates the surface about one-third of an inch; in this manner any kind of ornamental figures can be made, and the appearance of the most minutely carver foliation given to the Marble.

§ 38. Counterfeit Marble is painting which imitates the colors, veins, and chance beauties of Marbles, and to which is given, by means of a varnish, an appearance of polish on wood or stone.

§ 39. We do not know how to better conclude these remarks than by an extract from M. Huot, who has reduced the Marble question to those which are practically best known in commerce, which is, after all, the point most interesting to Artists and Merchants.

Mineralogists, he says, divide Marbles into two great classes; the calcaires susaccharoides, that is, those which break like sugar, and are most suitable to statuary; and the calcaires sublamellaires, which, for the fineness of their grain, are particularly suited to decoration of buildings.

These are separated into two groups, the antique and modern.

The following are the principal varieties:-The Red Antique was taken from the Egyptian quarries, situated between the Nile and the Red Sea. The chain of Taygetus, in Laconia, also furnished it, but of an inferior quality.

The Black Antique, or Lucullus Marble, is remarkable for its intensity of color. It is supposed to have been brought from Greece. Quarries of this Marble were found near Spa, but they have long been abandoned.

The Green Antique is a Breccia, composed of fragments of serpentine and saccharoide Marbles, joined together with a calcareous cement. This is used in Thessalonica and Macedon.

The Yellow Antique was also found in Macedonia. It was from this Marble that the columns, composed of a single piece, which decorate the interior of the Pantheon, were made.

The Violet Antique Breccia, or Aleppian Breccia, was probably taken from Carrara, where some of it is still found. It is of various colors, and contains angular fragments of white and lilac limestone, joined with a violet cement.

The African Antique Breccia, composed of grey, red, and violet fragments, joined by a black, calcareous paste, is not less variegated than the preceding. This Marble produces a beautiful effect.

§ 40. Asia, Africa, America, Oceanica, Sweden, Norway, and Germany possess Marble quarries which, although less known than those of Italy and Greece, are neither inferior or less beautiful. But only in Italy can be found the Sienna Yellow, the Florence Green, the Prato, the Bergamo, the Suza, and the Lumachella of Abruzzi, or the Statuary of Carrara from the Genoese coasts, or the superb Bleuturquin, or Bardiglio, also taken from the suburbs of Carrara; or the Black Porter, furrowed with numerous veins of a reddish yellow.

§ 41. Spain alone can rival Italy in Marbles. Her Marbles of Molina are considered as fine grained as those of Carrara. The provinces of Granada and Cordova possess those which equal them in purity. The Grey of Toledo, the Black of a Mancha, and the Biscay, the Black, veined with White, of Murviedro, the Violet of Catalonia, the Red of Seville and of Molina, the Green of Granada, the Red of Santiago, the red Lumachellas of Granada and Cordova, and the Spanish Brocatellos with yellow cement, form a collection of mineral riches, which only need skilled workmen to embellish both public and private edifices with all the splendor and prodigality of decorations of the artists of Greece and Rome.

§ 42. England also possesses fine quarries, which might rival those of the continent. The expense of transportation hinders the introduction of the English Marbles into France. They are seldom seen there except in museums.

§ 43. Belgium has considerable commerce in Marbles, especially in the kind called Drap Mortuaire, on which the white shells stand out distinctly from the black ground. It also has well known Marbles which are in great demand among workmen since the introduction of railways has facilitated their transport. Among these is the Granitel, a species of black Lumachella, interspersed with fragments of coral and other polypi, and found principally at Ligny and near Mons. The Saint Anne is also found there and is of a grey ground with irregular white spits, or of a reddish grey ground with long and large white veins.

§ 44. But France can also compete, in her varied products, with those countries most favored by nature; she has grey, brown, ash and red Granites, whose beauty is equaled by their solidity. Those of Cherbourg, Boulogne, and the Vosges, unite these qualities.

All these Marbles, and others which are still buried beneath beds of calcareous earth, long remained neglected or unknown on account of the expense of quarrying and transportation; perhaps, also, for the reason, too common in France, that we value less the products of our own soil than those of foreign countries; yet all these Marbles, we confidently assert, can compete advantageously with those of Italy or Greece.

The mechanical means now used for the quarrying of Marbles, the use of steam engines in cutting, working, and transporting them, and the diminution of their market price, will place them within reach of the world, and ere long we shall see them in baths, bases of columns, stairways, and garden vases and fountains, as substitutes for the stone which grows yellow, scales off, and is covered with disagreeable lichens and mosses, and the plaster which must often be replaced to the detriment of the owner.

But it is not private individuals alone who should modify the general ideas respecting Marble. It is most necessary that the Marble workers themselves, should endeavor to manufacture the small articles which are demanded in trade, at reasonable prices. It is a wrong system to put a high price on novelties. It is better, on the contrary, to make them popular; and the best means of accomplishing this is to offer them at a cheap rate. A new art of veneering Marble upon wood or stone, of which we shall speak hereafter, will favor the introduction of fine French Marbles in commerce. This veneering will be found very beautiful for mantels, consoles, tables, and other articles of the same nature, which are executed in Marble.

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