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  • Place of origin:

    london (designed)

  • Date:

    1740-1765 (designed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Lock, Matthias Sr (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level D, case CUP, shelf 7, box C

This design came to the museum in an album of designs entitled Original Designs by Matts Lock, Carver 1740 - 1765. The album was bought from a descendant, George Lock, and had been exhibited by him at the International Exhibition held at South Kensington in 1862. It seems to have been compiled after Lock's death in 1765 as it includes ephemera from his workshop, designs by Chippendale, and neo-classical designs associated with a later Matthias Lock, probably his son. The presence of Chippendale designs has helped to fuel the idea that Lock and Chippendale collaborated professionally. It has even been suggested that Lock 'ghost' designed for Chippendale, but it now seems more likely that he provided piece-work carving for Chippendale's larger projects.

Matthias Lock was the first to publish rococo designs in England and can be credited with first mastering the rococo style, imparting an 'English' flavour to his designs. Little is known of Lock's life but ephemera in this album helps to date his carving activities as early as 1742-44 based on memoranda for carving work undertaken. Lock published designs of sconces in 1744 and tables in 1746, and A Book of Ornaments in 1747. A New Drawing Book of Ornaments and The Principles of Ornament are undated but stylistically fit with the 1746-7 designs. Another A New Book of Ornaments appeared in 1752 in collaboration with Henry Copland. This included a range of furniture in the rococo style but also chinoiserie motifs. This was the most ambitious book of rococo ornament prior to Chippendale's Director. Roger Sayer published a posthumous collection of Lock's engravings, describing him as 'the famous Mr Matt Lock … who was reputed the best Draftsman in that way that had ever been in England'.

Physical description

A design for an ornament with two dolphins facing each other at the centre in front of a conch shell which is topped by a crown with a trident to either side.

Place of Origin

london (designed)


1740-1765 (designed)


Lock, Matthias Sr (designer)

Materials and Techniques



Height: 78 mm, Width: 178 mm

Descriptive line

A design for a wall ornament of two dolphins, in pencil on paper, from an album by Matthias Lock.


Pencil; Paper



Subjects depicted

Dolphin; Ornament


Designs; Furniture

Production Type



Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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