Library Tour - Chapter 2

Library Tour - Chapter 2

 CHAPTER 2 – Entrance and Grand Marble Staircase

  • Forming the most striking architectural feature of the Library’s interior, the materials used to construct the Grand Marble Staircase, which ascends from the foyer, include Sienna and Comblanchien marbles and beautifully variegated Scagliola composition (the walls of the stairwell and landings covered in a veneer of Pavonazzo.) The risers of the staircase are of Sienna and the treads are of Comblanchien marble.
  • The staircase’s striking iron work elegantly incorporates the Library’s initials (PPL).
  • The bulk of the wall paneling adjacent to the stairway, as well as of the pillars and pilasters, is of the composition known as Scagliola, which is a handsome and effective imitation of the vari-tinted and streaked marble.

Making the Marble, called Pavonazzo

Through a process called Scagliola, devised by Italian monks in the 15th century, skeins of colored silk are soaked in a special cement and then removed. Once colored, the cement is applied to the walls and columns and finally, polished. The resulting surface is as smooth as marble from the most renowned quarries of the world, but more deeply hued. Pavonazzo lasts for centuries, as it has in the churches of Italy.

 

What is Scagliola?

CHAPTER 3 -- The Grand Hall and Garden Courtyard

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