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date: 23 January 2021


The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists

Ian Chilvers

A black substance (typically sulphur, silver, lead, and copper) used as a decorative inlay on metal surfaces; the term can also be used to refer to the process of making such an inlay, and to a surface or object so decorated. Niello prints are impressions taken from such surfaces and are invariably Italian work of the second half of the 15th century. They were probably initially taken as proofs by niellists who wanted to see their work clearly. But it appears that these craftsmen then took to engraving plates with the express purpose of taking impressions from them, and many early examples of Italian ... ...

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