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Chimneypiece

  • Object:

    Chimney-piece

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1873 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Alfred Stevens, born 1817 - died 1875 (designer)
    Gamble, James, born 1837 - died 1911 (sculptor)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carrara, grey Bardiglio, and red marbles

  • Museum number:

    A.2-1976

  • Gallery location:

    V&A Café, the Gamble room, room 14a, case SWAL

This marble mantelpiece is made by Alfred Stevens in England in 1869.
It originates from the dining room in Dorchester House, Park Lane, where it was installed unfinished around 1869. It was commissioned from Stevens by Robert Holford. Although the mantelpiece was installed in 1869, the caryatid figures were finished by James Gamble in 1873.

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

The entablature is supported on either side by caryatids, crouching seated women. On the shelf are ornaments of swags of fruit and masks, surmounted by a standing putto holding an armorial shield bearing the device of a greyhound. The opening of the grate is derived from the decorations of the Taj Mahal.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

ca. 1873 (made)

Artist/maker

Alfred Stevens, born 1817 - died 1875 (designer)
Gamble, James, born 1837 - died 1911 (sculptor)

Materials and Techniques

Carrara, grey Bardiglio, and red marbles

Dimensions

Height: 445 cm, Width: 3.069 cm

Object history note

Transferred from the Tate Gallery, 1975. From the dining room in Dorchester House, Park Lane, where it was installed unfinished around 1869. The figure parts were polished by James Gamble after the death of Stevens. It was commissioned from Stevens by Robert Holford for the dining-room at Dorchester House, Park Lane. Although the mantelpiece was installed in 1869, the caryatid figures were finished by James Gamble in 1873.

Descriptive line

Mantelpiece, Carrara marble, grey bardiglio and red marbles, for the dining room of Dorchester House, by Alfred Stevens and caryatid figures by James Gamble, English, ca. 1873

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

Stannus, H. Alfred Stevens and his Work, London, 1891, pp. 31-2
Towndrow, K. R., The works of Alfred Stevens in the Tate Gallery, London, 1950, p. 119-20
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, p. 393, cat. no. 627
Laing, A. 'The Eighteenth-Century English Chimneypiece', in: Jackson-Stops et al, (eds), The Fashioning and Functioning of the British Country House, Studies in the History of Art 25 - National Gallery of Art, Washington, Hannover and London, 1989, p. 251, fig. 14

Materials

Marble

Subjects depicted

Greyhound; Caryatides; Women; Fruit; Shield; Putto; Masks

Categories

Architectural fittings; Sculpture

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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