Skip links


Davide Furno is a ceroplast craftsman, a carpoplast and botanical modeller: the last artisan to have brought the sublime art of the great Garnier Valletti back to life, to have mastered the secrets of this ancient craft and give continuity to this forgotten tradition of Italian master modellers.


Starting in the 17th century, workshops of artists and scientists creating splendid collections of artificial fruits for museums and universities started flourishing all over Europe and

Francesco Garnier Valletti (1808 – 1889) was the last and the greatest master of this art.

A modeller of flowers and ornamental fruits in wax and a decorator for the major Royal Courts of Europe, Garnier Valletti later developed his own secret recipe in 1856: one incomparable for its solidity, realism and artistic beauty. Upon his death – and for the next 120 years – his recipe has been considered lost, his story and art forgotten and the last surviving examples of his work were shrouded in a veil of legend and mystery. Until the day I rediscovered it by chance.


Years of study and experimentations began, years where I learned Valletti’s masterful technique, slowly getting acquainted with its secrets, eventually even reaching the point of refining the original method of the Master. Through the wise use of natural waxes and resins, plasters and powders, fruits often seeming more real than real were coming back to life from a distant past in my hands and it is only thanks to those long years of meticulous research – of passion and tenacity – that it is possible today to once more admire copies of what was thought lost forever: wax fruits that have been made according to the method of the greatest ceroplast in history.


All these years spent chasing the right materials, the correct formulas, original recipes and analysing some of Garnier’s own surviving fruits, have in fact confirmed to me the correctness of the method I use. Thus, for my own creations, despite having refined the methods, I still and only use the natural products that he himself used and has passed on: natural resins, animal and vegetable waxes, gypsum and powders for both the paste and for the finishing paints. With these, I produce the cast in which I then pour a boiling mixture of resins and waxes. This way, I obtain the raw fruit, which – with extreme patience – I then polish until, after some ten coats of whites and varnishes and about 4 weeks of processing, a fake fruit that is difficult to distinguish from the original is obtained.


In addition to Valletti’s technique, it was natural for me to also research and acquire the various recipes that artists have used from time immemorial to model in wax: starting from the original ones complied by Vasari, to those of the Enlightenment and the laboratories of Florence and Bologna. In the end, after more than two decades of practice, I ended up creating my own personal formula and recipe for perfection. One which, in addition to the purely aesthetic aspect, also took into account the ethical factors deriving from the different sensitivity of our age and which therefore does not include the use of any animal fats, toxic gooseberries and natural spermaceti. Because in order to honour our past, our tradition and history, one must protect and safeguard the future.




Davide Furno graduated from the prestigious IED Institute of Milan, working for many years as a graphic designer and combining his profession with a passion for craftsmanship.

After having accidentally discovered a collection created by Master Francesco Garnier Valletti – a modeller of flowers and ornamental fruits in wax – he immediately fell in love with that ancient and forgotten art, never to abandon it since. In his laboratory at the foot of the Italian Alps, he creates botanical models for museums, private collections, advertising campaigns and set designs.


Davide Furno

Botanical wax models

Salita di Riva 6, Biella, Italy

T. (+39) 345 6273518

Vedi anche: