Friday, October 2, 2009

Favorite Design Element: Framed Intaglios

For the best selection of framed intaglios, custom made to your specifications, please visit www.quatrefoildesign.com

Image via Quatrefoil Design
From the first time I saw a framed intaglio, I thought is was the perfect combination of sculpture and art.

An intaglio is a figure or design carved into stone or a hard material. "Intaglios, cameos, and medals were popular among collectors in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Skilled engravers copied such artefacts from the classical world, reproductions were made in paste and glass, and collectors bought them not only for display, but to study classical Greece and Rome. Additionally new medals and intaglios were as popular with collectors, who bought them to commemorate, and to show an affinity with the contemporary events and personalities depicted in them: battles, parliamentary acts, political campaigns, and philosophers, statesmen, soldiers, sailors, poets, writers."(from the UCL Bentham Project)

Framed intaglios are incredibly versatile, and can be used in just about every room of the house (a friend of mine even has some in her bathroom, and they are gorgeous in there). They look just as good hung in small groups as they do in large groups, but I am always a fan of a large, dramatic group!

In this streamlined design, designer Jim Hawes of Caldwell-Beebe uses large scale frames with a single intaglio to great effect (there are two frames over the chest). Love that lamp - it costs a small fortune, but it is truly like a little sculpture.

A lovely display of framed intaglios above twin beds at the Mrs. Howard store. (a quick snapshot with my iphone).

I am not sure where this photo comes from - (edit: a readers tells me it is the Shabby Slips store in Austin) - it was the framed intaglios above the beds that caught my eye.

A stunning arrangement of framed intaglios arranged around a Louis Phillipe mirror. I think that intaglios work so well to expand a scene - this room would not be as beautiful with just a mirror on the wall. It is the arrangement of the intaglios, with the cases and the mirror, that makes this vignette work. Design by Womack Interiors.

In the dining room of my old house, I used two sets of four framed intaglios (for a total of eight) to widen the scene. Adding the framed intaglios to my dining room really elevated the space to a new level; everyone who came to my house commented on them.

This living room, from a real estate listing, caught my eye because of the framed intaglios mounted on the horizontal over the sofa.

My neighbor hung four sets of framed intaglios above her bed.

I love everything about this room, but it was the arrangement of framed intaglios that made the biggest impression on me. Design by Amy Morris.

Another Suzanne Kasler vignette - she was one of the very first to use intaglios as a decorative accessory. The edges of these intaglios are painted black for maximum contrast.

In her new house, Kasler relocated the intaglios to a space in her bedroom, and grouped them for maximum impact.

Although no photography was allowed at a recent showhouse in Atlanta, I snuck a picture of the beautiful wall of intaglios in the room designed by Suzanne Kasler. What a dramatic statement!

christmashouse.1120 j
Here is a clearer picture from Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles, where a glimpse of the framed intaglios can be seen.

Last year, I did a post on intaglios, and I still receive emails from readers asking where I found my intaglios. This inspired the creation of 'Quatrefoil Design' (click here to visit the store), an online store that I recently started. I have always dreamed of having a store, so this little virtual store has been a labor of love - and with the help of a great team of product consultants and designers, the store is up and running! Please stop by and see the beautiful framed intaglios that were designed especially for the store.

Examples of our work:

Elyse_framedLaura_framed Ansley_framed Brandon_framed
Elyse_framed Davis_framed Elyse_framed Faith_Framed
HannaRiley_framedGraham_framed Julie_framedIsabel_framed

Kendall_framed Laura_framed Maddy_framed Nate_framed
Olivia_framed Paris_Framed Charlotte_framed Sarah_framed
My team has been working with the one of the most talented framers in the Southeast, and have created 22 designs available in two sizes: small (11"x14" - outer dimension 12 3/4" x 16") and large (16"x20" - outer dimension 17 5/8" x 21 5/8"). A top Atlanta designer, Judy Long of Tillman Long Interiors, was consulted to create suggested groupings for sets of 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 12, 16, or 20. I have found that they all work together quite well, and there is no right or wrong configuration, but sometimes it helps to have suggestions!

The designs can either be ordered in a hand rubbed gold frame with cream matt, or a hand rubbed silver frame with medium gray inner matt, and light gray outer matt. This silvery tone goes beautifully with the grays that are being seen more and more in interior design, and has a cool tone to it; the gold is a richer warmer option.

Taylor_framed Yancey_framed Victor_framed
There are several single intaglio designs which work well with each other, or can mix with the other designs. If they are going to be used individually or in a small set, the matt can be sized smaller to frame the intaglio more closely. Although it is hard to see in this picture, the face of the intaglio on the left is facing center, and the face of the intaglio on the right is also facing center. Little details like this make all the difference!

Best of all, the price is wholesale, but available to everyone. For the small size (outer dimension 12 3/4" x 16") : $365 each. Volume and trade discounts are available too. For the large size (outer dimension 17 5/8" x 21 5/8") $450, with trade discounts available. 

I have seen framed intaglios around town that are not nearly as well done, priced at $595-$995 each -Quatrefoil Design framed intaglios are exceptionally beautiful, the framed are all custom crafted, sanded, and hand-rubbed in gold or silver; and less than half the price!

 Please visit the Quatrefoil Design store for more information (click here), and the companion Quatrefoil Design blog.

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Visit my online store, Quatrefoil Designwww.quatrefoildesign.com


  1. These are a wonderful art form to use in design. I believe it is the combination of original two dimensional, as well as sculptural, art that completes the home.

  2. They are lovely! The examples you selected are fabulous too.


  3. First thank you for the introduction of intaglios. Thank you also for sharing your beautiful dining room. Third I want to be able to make a be like Mrs. Howard. Those twin beds look like a wedding cake. What do you think the drop is on those bed skirts.

  4. Funny, I only noticed the intaglios, not the bedskirts - but they are very, very long! I wonder why?

    I think that picture is from a showroom in High Point, not Mrs. Howard - maybe the Hickory Chair showroom?

  5. Until I started reading your blog I'd never even heard the word, "intaglio. I still can pronounce it but I'm working on it and I'm enjoying them thanks to you.

  6. I am so impressed with the photos you have assembled.

    What a fab assortment and really perfect in many different room settings.

    Jane T.

  7. These are fabulous! What a statement they make, when they are displayed all together.
    Such a wonderful blog you have here, I'm so glad to have found you!

  8. LOVE that dining room with the round table... FAB!!!

  9. This was news to me..., so I want to thank you too for introducing intaglios. Love to learn new things like that.

  10. Goodness, excuse my ignorance, I had never heard of these. I'll look out for future examples... and best of luck with your store!

  11. Very nice and informative post. But it is going to be expensive to follow you...! Have a wonderful weekend. OX Monika

  12. I love your blog! FYI, the photo of the two beds is from the Shabby Slips store in Austin

  13. Lovely post and very informative. Had never heard of intaglios before. Thanks

    The photos you have chosen to illustrate this form of decoration are fab too :)

  14. I am someone who has a collection of stones from all the places I visit. There's something so compelling about holding a stone in my hand and remembering where it once lay. This post gives me fabulous ideas!

  15. Thank you for the comments, everyone! The thing that amazes me about this collection of pictures is the versatility of intaglios, either as their own statement or to complement other items.

  16. Oh, what beauty! The arrangements are stunning.

  17. I have learned something today, thank you.

  18. Gorgeous! And good luck with the store! I love intaglios and am in the middle of deciding how to frame my own. Thanks for this posting!

  19. what an inspiring post once again!
    i have searched for intaglio's for years and they are very expensive. but, you have encouraged me to pick up the hunt.
    thank you

  20. I had no idea intaglios even existed. I have seen some of those images before and never even wondered about the artwork (too focused on something else I guess). Thanks for the education. I think that are wonderful and I am sure I will start seeing them everywhere now.

  21. congrats on the store! and i love catching glimpses into your home.

  22. How do you do it? You educate, collect and now are selling these items I can never find? Once again I'm humbled, but am going to measure my hallway wall for my new collection. I can't wait to get them!

  23. Oooooops! I think that I really underpriced the antique intaglios that I just sold. Thanks for the heads up. These are stunning and the framing is superb (it is all in the details). Have a great week-end.

  24. I absolutely LOVE your dining room. The soft orange, the darker orange drapes, the celadon vases... such a stunning color palette!! I'd love to see the rest of your home...

  25. Did you notice that I have paper under my celadon vases? I need to glue felt to the bottom so they don't scratch the buffet!

    I am going to do a post on my dining room soon - it is kind of half and half, old and new. The dining room used to be vermilion, and the rug went with that, as did the curtains. I then inherited the dining room chairs and table - have not recovered the chairs even though they don't match - and I painted the walls, and am tired of the rug, but still love those curtains!

  26. Thank you for the art lesson. I have seen these but didn't have a name for them.

    When I started reading, I was looking at the intaglios and how beautifully they were framed and displayed. About half way, I realized that I was just looking at how they are displayed and that almost all of the rooms are symetrical. These rooms have it just right and give me such a peaceful feeling. Great picture choices.

  27. Lovely post, I have enjoyed all of these examples.

  28. Thank you for the introduction! Beautiful examples, too. Hope you have a great weekend!
    pk @ room remix

  29. I first learned of these last year from you! I love your DR, similar in style to mine. I will be in touch, I do believe this will be perfect for my client in DC!

  30. Thank you for the lesson on and all the great pictures of intaglios :-) It's obvious that you have a real passion for them :-)


  31. these are gorgeous = I am going to show them to a client who has been looking for something to hang in her hallway!!!!!

  32. I took that picture of the twin beds at Shabby Slips in Austin last summer! haha!

    and you didn't include my favorite picture of intaglios ever - the ones on the cover of S.A. - the bedroom by Jackie Langham!!!

    I'll let you know what my client says - I am soooo excited!!!!

  33. I was just talking to Brooke about how I was wanting to get some and hoping to find some while we were in Texas. I'm e-mailing you. I need to go measure right now! I have three different locations and I'm going to need to commit on which wall I want them one. I'm so excited for you!!!!


  34. Well I learned a new word in the world of art today, thank you very much! I love the perspective that you write your blog, you could be a designer!!

  35. OMG I adore a series of anything framed, and the intaglios are so gorgeous but don't compete with any other art in a room! I will keep Quatrefoil in mind for clients because I love love love this!!!!!

  36. I was captivated by every photo in this post. Thank you for taking the time to put it together...very inspiring and informative!


  37. What a beautiful post!!!!!
    I adore those intaglios!
    And you have given us really nice idees how to hang these framed intaglios!!You gave me inspiration by showing the image of the two white beds with the intaglios on the wall!

    Thank you so much! Well done!

  38. Thanks for the education. Intaglios sounds so much more chic and cultured than just calling them 'things' in a frame. Loved your beautiful examples.

  39. I love intaglios. I have a Greek necklace pendant of Apollo that I wear everywhere and with everything and get tons of compliments on it. I love the fact that you have to peer into the frames and take a minute to appreciate how beautiful they are...

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  41. that picture I took it!
    shabby slips in Austin!!
    too funny.


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