According to David Crowley's Introduction to Victorian Style, sgraffito is a Renaissance technique "in which a surface glaze is scratched away to reveal bright colours" (134).]

The art of sgraffito was much practised in Italy. It was specially revived by an artist named Morto da Feltri, who appears to have rediscovered the method during an excavation of Roman antiquities undertaken by the Medici family. On many of the tombs then uncovered examples of early Roman sgraffito work were found. Not merely did Morto da Feltri copy the old method, but he also imitated the style of design he found there. These decorations were known as "grottesche" — whence our word "grotesque." After he had revived the craft it was much used in Florence and in England until the time of Henry VIII., when it was forgotten entirely until the late F. W. Moody again revived it in decorations for South Kensington Museum and other buildings. — Gleeson White 4 (1898): 156

Heyood Sumner

F. W. Moody


Crowley, David. Introduction to Victorian Style. Royston: Eagle Editions, 1998.

White, Gleeson. “The Work of Heywood Sumner. I. Graffito Decorations.” International Studio. 4 (1898): 153-63. Online version Available from the Hathi Trust Digital Library online version of a copy in the University of Minnesota Library. Web. 1 January 2018

Last modified 2 April 2009