Corsi Collection of Decorative Stones

view of stone 475

Corsi 475, approx. 145 x 73 x 40 mm, © Oxford University Museum of Natural History

OUMNH Number: 475  
Name and quarry location: Cipollino mandolato, perhaps Tarteing, from Tarteing, Esplas de Sérou, Ariège, Midi-Pyrénées, France  
Geological description: Calcite marble. A metamorphosed nodular limestone, clay matter surrounding the nodules has altered to fine-grained chlorite. A few slender veins have ferruginous infills.  
Comments: This is one of the Devonian limestones from the French Pyrenees known collectively as cipollino mandolato. Quarries in the Campan valley, Pont de la Taule and certain other locations were opened in Roman times. The 17th to 19th centuries saw extensive working of the stone, for example to decorate Versailles and other French royal palaces. Sporadic working continued at some locations until the late 20th century. This sample most probably comes from the Ariège region. It closely resembles a fine slab of Tarteing gris in the marble collection of the Thermes at Bagneres de Bigorre. Tarteing is in the vicinity of Esplas de Sérou, an area that has produced the better known rosé vif de Pyrénées, which has a similar salmon-pink colouring (see no. 94). A similar stone has also come from Cabane de la Hosse (Antonelli, 1999), and more detailed analytical work would be needed to establish the source of this sample with any certainty.  
References: Antonelli (1999) plate 7 and passim.; Watson (1916) 117-118  
Further information:

Corsi's classification: Class 1. Marbles; Section 5. Breccias; ii. Italian Breccias  
Corsi's text: 124.54 Breccia di Vigiù  

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