On November 4th, 1966, the city of Florence faced one of the worst floods recorded since the Renaissance. After days of severe and heavy rainfall, the Arno river flooded the Tuscan streets. Along with the thousands of masterpieces of art and rare books, tons of mud, rubble and sewage severely damaged or destroyed the artifacts in the very churches they adorned.

A particularly wealthy man took notice of the church artifacts floating through the streets. He and his servants began to gather and collect as many gilded antiquities as they could. He had a monastery up the hill that they filled with all of the fragments. This monastery remained completely closed for about thirty years.

About 15 years ago, they allowed only a few select dealers in. Within a matter of 5 or 6 years, this man's stock had entirely depleted, and no one was able to buy any more. Years ago I began to take interest and buy these fragments out of my own fascination. Now, I have had great difficulty finding any more.

These relics have been used for decorators and designers alike to copy for distressed accessories, but here we have them, the originals. While many of our fragment artifacts are distressed due to age, these Florence fragments in particular stand apart. They symbolize a history that has been carried through the streets of Italy, to the monastery, to the modern home.

Each one has been recreated and reveals a new interpretation. 

What was submerged and stripped of its color and meaning still retains its history and beauty. What was weathered and worn is now reimagined and reborn.

What was lost is now found.

To access to this collection, go to Florence Fragments




June 22, 2020 — Grace Barlow