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Ceiling portion - Portion of a ceiling
  • Portion of a ceiling
    Alfred Stevens, born 1817 - died 1875
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Portion of a ceiling

  • Object:

    Ceiling portion

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1855 - ca. 1870 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Alfred Stevens, born 1817 - died 1875 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Plaster model

  • Museum number:

    354:1, 2-1899

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This is a model for a portion of a ceiling decoration so far unidentified, made by Alfred Stevens in ca. 1855-70. It is arranged in two compartments, one octagonal and one square. The octagonal is decorated with the following bands of ornament, including leaves, male masks, egg and dart moulding, a palmette ornament between two cornucopia, an astragal and a twisted riband round a blank centre. The square portion has a blank centre surrounded by a band of egg and dart moulding, astragals and a twisted riband.

A sculptor, designer and painter, Alfred Stevens (1817/18-1875) rejected contemporary distinctions between fine art and design. From 1850 to 1857 he was chief designer to Hoole & Co., Sheffield, where he produced award-winning designs for metalwork, majolica, terracotta ornaments and chimney-pieces. Perhaps his two greatest works were the decorations for the dining-room at Dorchester House, London (about 1856), for which he made countless drawings inspired by the Italian High Renaissance style, in particular the work of Michelangelo and the monument to the Duke of Wellington for St Paul's Cathedral, London, which was completed after his death. The two allegorical groups from this monument made a lasting impact on the New Sculpture movement.
The influence of the Italian Renaissance is evident in much of Steven's work, and is perhaps best reflected in the Wellington monument.

Physical description

Portion of a ceiling in plaster. It is arranged in two compartments, one octagonal and one square, the octagonal being decorated with the following bands of ornament round a blank centre:- (1) conventional leaves, (2) four male masks alternating with four groups, each consisting of a palmette ornament between two cornucopiae, (3) egg and tongue, (4) astragal, and (5) twisted riband; the square portion has a blank centre surrounded by (1) an egg and tongue banc, (2) an astragal band, and (3) a twisted riband.

Place of Origin

England (made)


ca. 1855 - ca. 1870 (made)


Alfred Stevens, born 1817 - died 1875 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Plaster model


Height: 126 cm

Object history note

Purchased from James Gamble Esq., 24 Rich Terrace, South Kensington, London in 1899, together with Mus. no. 353-1899 for £12 10s each.

Descriptive line

Model, ceiling portion, moulding, plaster, leaves, cornucopiae, masks, by Alfred Stevens, England, ca. 1855-70

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

List of Objects in the Art Division South Kensington Museum acquired during the Year 1899. Arranged according to the dates of acquisition, with appendix and indices. London: Her Majesty's Stationary Office. Wyman and Sons, 1903, p.57
Bilbey, Diane with Trusted, Marjorie. British Sculpture 1470 to 2000. A Concise Catalogue of the Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London: V& A Publications, 2002, p. 408, cat. no. 665



Subjects depicted

Leaves; Egg and tongue; Astragals; Masks; Cornucopiae


Sculpture; Architectural fittings


Sculpture Collection

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