The inscription probably records the name of the donor and may be translated, "Jacopo, son of the notary Vannis, son of Cole [Nicola?]." Niello is an alloy of silver, copper, and lead to which sulphur and often borax are added. In pulverized form this composition is applied to a silver plaque that has been prepared with an incised design and heated until the composition and the silver fuse. When cool, the plaque is scraped until the blackened composition remains in the incised areas alone and is then rubbed until the silver regains its shine.
Artist: pedestal and mounts by Pierre Philippe Thomire (French, Paris 1751–1843 Paris)Date: early 19th century (lapidary work); 1819 (pedestal and mounts)Medium: Russian malachite, composite filling material; gilt-bronze mounts; bronze pedestalAccession: 44.152a, bOn view in:Gallery 553