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Design for a ceiling
  • Design for a ceiling
    Sir William Chambers, born 1723 - died 1796
  • Enlarge image

Design for a ceiling

  • Place of origin:

    Britain (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1763 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Sir William Chambers, born 1723 - died 1796 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen and ink, pencil and grey and purple washes on paper laid down on to another sheet.

  • Museum number:

    2216:41

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case A, shelf 229, box A

Plan of the library ceiling at Manresa House, Roehampton, Wandsworth by leading architect and designer Sir William Chambers (1723-1796). It was built between 1760 and 1768 or 1769, primarily to hold the Earl of Bessborough’s collection of antique sculpture. It was placed to give the appearance of an antique temple standing in a grove of trees, especially when viewed from Richmond Park, which bordered the site. This design, from the ceiling pattern book, is highly finished and presented as fragmentary. The Library ceiling is divided into compartments but with a thin bay-leaf moulding rather than a broad and heavy guilloche. In the event this design was used both for the Library (to the south of the hall) and the Drawing Room to the north.

Chambers was born in Sweden and died in London. He travelled widely, visiting China, and studied architecture at the Ecole des Arts, Paris, from 1749 and in Italy from 1750 to 1755. Many of his drawings from this period are contained in his important 'Franco-Italian' album, held in the V&A. Chambers moved to London in 1755 and published his influential Treatise on Civil Architecture in 1759. Chambers demonstrated the breadth of his style in buildings such as Gower (later Carrington) House and Melbourne House, London, in such country houses as Duddingston, Scotland, and in the garden architecture he designed for Wilton House, Wiltshire, and at Kew Gardens. He became head of government building in 1782, and in this capacity built Somerset House, London.

Physical description

Plan of the library ceiling at Manresa House, Roehampton, Wandsworth. This design, from the ceiling pattern book, is highly finished and presented as fragmentary. The Library ceiling is divided into compartments but with a thin bay-leaf moulding rather than a broad and heavy guilloche.

Place of Origin

Britain (made)

Date

ca. 1763 (made)

Artist/maker

Sir William Chambers, born 1723 - died 1796 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Pen and ink, pencil and grey and purple washes on paper laid down on to another sheet.

Marks and inscriptions

'W Chambers 1763'
Signed and dated

'No 9'
Inscribed in ink

'Ceiling in the Library at Rowhampton.'
Inscribed in ink

Dimensions

Height: 424 mm, Width: 283 mm

Object history note

Registered by the museum in 1857

Historical context note

It was built between 1760 and 1768 or 1769, primarily to hold the Earl of Bessborough's collection of antique sculpture. It was placed to give the appearance of an antique temple standing in a grove of trees, especially when viewed from Richmond Park, which bordered the site. This design, from the ceiling pattern book, is highly finished and presented as fragmentary. The Library ceiling is divided into compartments but with a thin bay-leaf moulding rather than a broad and heavy guilloche. In the event this design was used both for the Library (to the south of the hall) and the Drawing Room to the north.

Descriptive line

Plan of the library ceiling at Manresa House, Roehampton, Wandsworth, 18th century, Sir William Chambers (1723-1796).

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

Harris 1970
Snodin, M. Sir William Chambers. London: V&A Publications, 1996.

Materials

Pen and ink; Pencil; Wash

Techniques

Drawing; Painting

Subjects depicted

Library; Ceiling; Plans (drawings)

Categories

Architecture; Interiors; Drawings; Designs

Production Type

Design

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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