Sorrento Wood Inlay
Sorrento and Sorrento Coast have given Wood Inlay its highest splendour in the second half of the Nineteenth century. The art of Wood Inlay, yet, has very ancient origins and its flourishing is probably located in Asia Minor. The earliest inlaid objects found in Turkey, in fact, go back to 350 B.C.
In the 15th century the art was exported to Italy where first in Florence, and then in Sorrento, it developed in the technique and in the materials used.
In Sorrento, Inlay, thanks to the excellence of the products and the particular artistic characterization, achieved a relevant role which would bring the Sorrento artistic technique to be acknowledged all over the world. In particular, the diffusion and the development of the art of wood inlay in Sorrento is linked to the presence of religious men, especially Benedictine monks, who, in the monastery of Sant’Agrippino, made inlaid works by using walnut, lemon-tree, orange-tree and olive-wood. Moreover, an evidence of the flourishing art in Sorrento’s territory is given by the presence of numerous inlaid works in the churches of the town. The themes represented vary from landscapes, still natures, to local products and to events linked to local history and to popular traditions.
The technique of Wood Inlay consists in the making of drawings on wooden surfaces through the assembling of small wooden pieces, previously cut and shaped. The wooden tesseras have various shades of colour and are less thick than a millimetre and, after being cut, are shaded thanks to the immersion into hot sand. The last phase, in the making of an inlaid product, foresees the making of the drawing through the assembling of the wooden tesseras which are sticked on wooden surfaces with isinglass, then sanded and varnished.