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  • Place of origin:

    Venice (made)

  • Date:

    1850-1900 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Podio, Decio (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Micromosaic with carved, pierced, gilt frame

  • Credit Line:

    The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

  • Museum number:

    LOAN:GILBERT.170:1 to 3-2008

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The painting Tigress Lying Below Rocks by the British artist George Stubbs (1724-1806) inspired this micromosaic. Stubb's painting was published as an engraving by John Dixon in 1772, which is probably how the mosaicist made his copy.

Sir Arthur Gilbert and his wife Rosalinde formed one of the world's great decorative art collections, including silver, mosaics, enamelled portrait miniatures and gold boxes. Arthur Gilbert donated his extraordinary collection to Britain in 1996.

Physical description

Rectangular micromosaic depicting a tigress, her head to the viewer's left, reclining on a rocky ledge in front of the entrance to a cave. The picture is signed in the lower left corner and is in a rectangular pierced and carved gilt frame.

Place of Origin

Venice (made)


1850-1900 (made)


Podio, Decio (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Micromosaic with carved, pierced, gilt frame

Marks and inscriptions

Signed lower left DECIO PODIO VENEZIA


Height: 50.8 cm, Width: 66 cm, Height: 84 cm, Width: 98 cm, Depth: 9 cm

Object history note

Provenance: Blackwell Antique Gallery, San Francisco, 1974.

Historical significance: The picture is based on a painting by George Stubbs which was engraved by John Dixon in 1772 as A Tigress A further mezzotint of the painting was published by John Murphy in 1798. The subject was the tigress given to George Spencer, 4th Duke of Marlborough by Lord Clive, Governor of Bengal who arrived in March 1762 in the menagerie at Blenheim.
The species shown is indeed an Indian or Bengal tigress with short fur and widely spaced stripes. Its small rounded head, short nose and lack of ruff indicate gender.

An identical mosaic is in a private collection in Genoa

Historical context note

Decio Podio was related to Enrico Podio, head mosaicist at the Basilica of St Mark's, and also artistic director of the Salviati mosaics firm in Venice from 1879 Venice. The picture was sold to Arthur Gilbert by a private resident of San Francisco who recorded in a letter dated 1974 that the mosaic was "of the late nineteenth century[... It] is in the original carved wood and gilded frame as purchased [in Venice] from the mosaicist who made it. It was purchased directly from the man who made it by the mother of the present owner just prior to the turn of the century."

Descriptive line

Tigress, micromosaic, Venice, Decio Podio, 1880-1890.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Hillier, Bevis. 'The Gilbert Collection of Mosaics'. The Connoisseur, April 1975, vol. 188, no. 758, fig. 5.
Gonzalez-Palacios, Alvar. The Art of Mosaics: Selections from the Gilbert Collection, Los Angeles (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) 1977. 143 p., ill. Cat. no. 92. ISBN 0875870805.
Zucker, M. 'A great collection of tiny artistry - how it was made', Smithsonian, 1977, p.86.
Casey, R. 'The Miraculous Mosaics', SA: The Magazine of San Antonio, 1978, p.32.
Gonzalez-Palacios, Alvar and Steffi Röttgen with essays by Steffi Röttgen, Claudia Przyborowski; essays and new catalogue material translated by Alla Theodora Hall. The Art of Mosaics: Selections from the Gilbert Collection. Los Angeles (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) 1982. 224 p., ill. Cat. no. 103. ISBN 0875871097
Irmas, Deborah. 'Pieces of a Lost Art: The Dazzling, Puzzling Gilbert Mosaics'. Almanac, vol. 18, no. 4. Pennsylvania: Franklin Center, September/October 1986, ill. pp. 16-17.
'Conversation with an Avid Collector: an Interview about the Collection of Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert'. Catalogue for Designers West 34, no. 5, Los Angeles, March 1987, ill. pp. 116-7.
Gaillemin, Jean-Louis. 'Back Home: La Collection Arthur Gilbert'. Connaissance des Arts, October 1996, p. 77.
Ducas, June. 'Gilbert's Gold', Orient Express Magazine, December 1996, ill. p. 24.
Schroder, Timothy, ed. The Gilbert Collection at the V&A. London (V&A Publishing) 2009, p. 15, plate 5. ISBN9781851775934
Massinelli, Anna Maria, with contributions by Iacopo Lastrucci. Painting in Stone. Modern Florentine Pietre Dura Mosaic. Florence: Inprogress, 2014, ,p. 62, fig. 23

Labels and date

Tigress lying below rocks

This is a rare Venetian example of a mosaic technique first perfected in Rome. It was probably created in association with a large Venetian mosaic and glass firm founded by Antonio Salviati. The company primarily produced prefabricated wall mosaics for installation world-wide. This would be a rare, small-scale work.

Venice, Italy; signed Decio Podio (born about 1860) after the engraving of a painting by George Stubbs (1724–1806)
Glass micromosaic with gilded wood and velvet frame
Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.170:1, 2-2008 [16/11/2016]

The painting Tigress Lying Below Rocks by the British artist George Stubbs (1724-1806) inspired this micromosaic. Stubb's painting was published as an engraving by John Dixon in 1772, which is probably how the mosaicist made his copy.

Venice, Italy, Decio Podio (born about 1860)
Glass micromosaic with gilded wood frame
Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.170-1-2-2008 [2009]


Mosaic glass; Gilt wood


Micromosaic; Carving; Piercing; Framing; Gilding




Metalwork Collection

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