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Oil painting - Design for a decorative panel for Melchet Court
  • Design for a decorative panel for Melchet Court
    Alfred Stevens, born 1817 - died 1875
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Design for a decorative panel for Melchet Court

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Date:

    1868 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Alfred Stevens, born 1817 - died 1875 (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on canvas

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case H, shelf 25


1868 (painted)


Alfred Stevens, born 1817 - died 1875 (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

Oil on canvas


Height: 16 in estimate, Width: 16 in estimate

Object history note

Purchased, 1879

Historical significance: The sculptor and designer Alfred Stevens spent nine formative years in Italy, travelling there in 1833 at the age of sixteen. There he studied Renaissance painting, copying frescoes in Florence and the works of Andrea del Sarto at Naples, and sketching at Pompeii. He received some formal training at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence. Later, in 1841-2, he worked in Rome as an assistant to Bertel Thorvaldsen. In 1845, following his return to England, he was appointed as an instructor in painting and ornament at the Government School of Design at Somerset House, where he taught architectural drawing, perspective, modelling and ornamental painting. He remaining in post for just over two years, when he resigned, being, as he put it, 'heartily sick of it' (Stuart Macdonald, The History and Philosophy of Art Education,Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2004, p. 99). In 1850 he became chief designer to a Sheffield firm, Messrs. Hoole and Robson, who won renown for metalwork exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851.

In 1868 Stevens was commissioned by Lady Ashburton to create a decorative scheme for the newly-built Melchet Park in Hampshire. However, much was damaged by a fire, and the interiors were redone in 1875-9. According to Pevsner, 'originally Alfred Stevens […] had done much, but that was consumed by the fire, except, it is said, the staircase, and the staircase is without doubt not Italian Renaissance, as one would expect from Stevens, but grandly Wrenish. For the coffered ceiling the Victoria and Albert Museum has the drawings. By Stevens probably is the beautiful grey-marble hall fireplace with putti and foliage. Also by him could be the two wooden overdoors in the present chapel, former dining room.'

This decorative panel is one of a group of seven Italianate oil studies in the V&A created for the Melchet Court project. They were purchased by the Museum from Stevens' studio sale, which was held at Phillips on 23 May 1879.

Descriptive line

Oil painting, design for a decorative panel, Alfred Stevens


Oil paint; Canvas


Oil painting

Subjects depicted



Paintings; Designs


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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