Vaults made by thin bricks flatly arranged started appearing in Naples during the first decades of the 19th century. There is no record of the adoption of such vaults in the previous centuries, when local materials, such as tuff and wood, represented the main employed solutions. The technique of tile vaulting was imported in Naples from Sicily where it was used, albeit discontinuously, since the 15th century thanks to the activities of the Catalan builders on the island. During the first half of the 19th century, the construction of tile vaulting in numerous royal residences of Naples was overseen by a Sicilian master builder. Presumably at such time builders from Naples lacked the specific skills to construct tile vaults, justifying the need for the supervision of a Sicilian foreman. However, it may be supposed that the Neapolitan technicians were actually aware that such construction technique was not only employed in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies but also in the nearby Papal State and in the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. Moreover, the exposure to French experimentations and publications should be considered, in particular to the well-known work of the Count of Espie, who certainly played an important role in the diffusion of tile vaults in the Neapolitan area. Starting from such context, the present paper explores the motivations behind the spread of the tile vault in Naples, discusses the possible relationships with contexts and experiences of the same period and presents some significant case studies.

Tile vaulting in Naples: first experimentations in the early 19th century

Lia Romano
2022

Abstract

Vaults made by thin bricks flatly arranged started appearing in Naples during the first decades of the 19th century. There is no record of the adoption of such vaults in the previous centuries, when local materials, such as tuff and wood, represented the main employed solutions. The technique of tile vaulting was imported in Naples from Sicily where it was used, albeit discontinuously, since the 15th century thanks to the activities of the Catalan builders on the island. During the first half of the 19th century, the construction of tile vaulting in numerous royal residences of Naples was overseen by a Sicilian master builder. Presumably at such time builders from Naples lacked the specific skills to construct tile vaults, justifying the need for the supervision of a Sicilian foreman. However, it may be supposed that the Neapolitan technicians were actually aware that such construction technique was not only employed in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies but also in the nearby Papal State and in the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. Moreover, the exposure to French experimentations and publications should be considered, in particular to the well-known work of the Count of Espie, who certainly played an important role in the diffusion of tile vaults in the Neapolitan area. Starting from such context, the present paper explores the motivations behind the spread of the tile vault in Naples, discusses the possible relationships with contexts and experiences of the same period and presents some significant case studies.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11588/892007
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