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ITS DECORATIONS 159
and the room known as the Scalcheria or Cancelleria retain any of the original decorations. But fragments of the pavement, of coloured Pesaro tiles, bearing the Gonzaga devices, the crucible and faggots, which Francesco adopted, the sun which decorated his father's Camera del Sole, the dove bearing the motto, Semper, the black eagles and golden lion granted to his ancestors by the Emperor Sigismondo, and many other favourite emblems, may still be seen in public and private galleries, at South Kensington Museum, and Berlin, in the Andre. and Rothschild collection.1
According to Abbot Bettinelli, who described the palace of the Gonzagas in the eighteenth century, the studio took its name from the outer court leading to the gardens, which was decorated in the grottesca style, with stuccoed vaults and niches, and marble columns, and adorned with statues and bas-reliefs. The inscription on the walls of the Cortile bears the date of 1522, and shows that it was enlarged and improved when, at her son's request, Isabella gave up her old rooms in the Castello to inhabit the Corte Vecchia. But the new studio already went by the name of the Grotta at the close of the fifteenth century, and contained the Marchesa's finest pictures and choicest books, as well as an infinite number of other beautiful objects which she had collected from all parts of Italy. In May 1498, she dates a letter to her husband from the Grotta,2 and from that time we find frequent allusions to this favourite spot in her correspondence.
It was Isabella's dream to make this Grotta a
1 Yriarte, Gazette d. B. Arts, 1895.
2 Luzio e Ilenier in Arch. St Lomb., xvii. 654.