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Sketch-model - Mask and scroll-work
  • Mask and scroll-work
    Alfred Stevens, born 1817 - died 1875
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Mask and scroll-work

  • Object:

    Sketch-model

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1856 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Alfred Stevens, born 1817 - died 1875 (designer)
    Coalbrookdale Company (producer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Plaster cast

  • Museum number:

    A.65-1911

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This is possibly a sketch for the double pilasters forming a fender for part of a fireplace Stevens designed for the Coalbrookdale Iron Company.

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.

The Coalbrookdale Co. is known for its production of iron wares, ranging from railway tracks to garden furniture. It benefited from an ideal location, with a local supply of ironstone and nearby coal and water for fuel and power respectively. When Abraham Darby took over the works in 1708 the company produced mostly pots, pans and kettles. As new processes were developed, manufacturing methods improved, furnace capacities increased, and the Coalbrookdale Co. became one of the most important cast-iron manufacturers of the 19th century. It produced many architectural and domestic objects, making increasing use of cast iron rather than wrought iron as cast iron allowed repetitive patterns to be accurately reproduced at a fraction of the cost. The Coalbrookdale Company was established in 1709 and ceased production in 1959. It originally specialised in the production of a range of cast-iron industrial products, diversifying in the nineteenth century to include more decorative items.

Physical description

Above a series of plain mouldings comes a convex moulding decorated in low relief with scrolling foliage, in the centre of which is a head supporting the top series of mouldings.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

ca. 1856 (made)

Artist/maker

Alfred Stevens, born 1817 - died 1875 (designer)
Coalbrookdale Company (producer)

Materials and Techniques

Plaster cast

Dimensions

Height: 19.5 cm

Object history note

Purchased from Mrs Ada Gamble, 12 Stanlake Villas, Shepherd's Bush, London, together with a range of other objects by Stevens, for £175. Mrs Gamble was the widow of James Gamble, a pupil of Stevens, who had a large collection of designs and drawings by his former master.

Historical context note

This is possibly a sketch for the double pilasters forming a fender for part of a fireplace Stevens designed for the Coalbrookdale Iron Company.

Descriptive line

Sketch-model, part of fireplace, cast in plaster, mask and scroll-work, by Alfred Stevens, English, ca. 1856

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

Bilbey, Diane and Trusted, Marjorie. British Sculpture 1470-2000. A Concise Catalogue of the Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 2002, pp. 373-74, cat.no. 573
Review of the Principal Acquisitions during the year 1911, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, published under the Authority of his Majesty's Stationery Office, pp. 6-7

Materials

Plaster

Subjects depicted

Mask; Scrolling foliage

Categories

Architecture; Sculpture

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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