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Print - Set of Designs for Friezes

Set of Designs for Friezes

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1640 (first published)
    1668 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Pearce, Edward (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level D, case EO, shelf 91

Edward Pearce, the designer of this series, was one of the leading British artists of the Baroque style in his day. As a contemporary and associate of Inigo Jones, he worked particularly on interior decoration. This series of frieze designs reflect Pearce’s taste. Originally published in 1640, this edition is a posthumous reproduction from 1668, ten years after the artist’s death. Like Jones, Pearce believed that buildings should be constructed with strong, masculine exteriors and rich, elaborate interiors. This mix of architectural and florid design is evident throughout the frieze series. Putti drape themselves across bundles of fruit alongside solid architectural frames. During Pearce’s career, Richard Symonds praised him for having the best grasp on perspective of any British artist of the day. This too is evident in the series, and through attentive shading and positioning of various decorative elements, Pearce creates a sense of depth, even in a limited space.

Physical description

Design for frieze showing on the left a bowl of fruit supported by a foliate arabesque by an architectural design. To the right, a female mask hung with another swag and a putti, leaning against an ornamental vase showing a male mask.

Place of Origin

London (made)


1640 (first published)
1668 (published)


Pearce, Edward (designer)

Materials and Techniques


Marks and inscriptions



Height: 10.1 cm, Width: 28.8 cm

Object history note

One of Pearce’s most famous endeavours was the decoration of the Double Cube Room at Wilton House, which he completed working under Inigo Jones with John Webb. In fact, work by Dr. Gordon Higgott of English Heritage suggests that many of the drawings for the House originally attributed to Jones were actually Pearce’s work (2012). These drawings and images of the room give an idea how the design elements in Pearce’s frieze were implemented as three-dimensional decoration.

Descriptive line

Edward Pearce (after), plate from suite of twelve, including title plate showing designs for friezes. British, 1640.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Kunstbibliothek (Berlin, Germany). Katalog der Ornamentstichsammlung der Staatlichen Kunstbibliothek, Berlin. New York: B. Franklin, 1958.
Croft-Murray, Edward. Decorative painting in England 1, Early Tudor to Sir James Thornhill. London: Country, 1962.

Subjects depicted

Subject; Drapery; Mask; Foliate; Urn; Putti




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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