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  • Place of origin:

    London (probably, carved)

  • Date:

    1760-1765 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Johnson, Thomas (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pine, with water gilding and oil gilding

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 53a, case 3

Object Type
'Girandole' is an Italian name for a wall light. Wooden wall lights were introduced in the late 17th century and were common by the mid-18th century. The Rococo style gave free reign to the carver's invention.

Design & Designing
This design incorporates a miller with a bag of flour descending a ladder from the upper floor of the windmill. The two candle branches grow out of trees. A contemporary pair of girandoles, based on the same design, were supplied to Hagley Park, Worcestershire, and are now in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Materials & Making
The carving is contemporary to Thomas Johnson's One Hundred and Fifty New Designs, published between 1758 and 1761. The nozzles of the candle branches would originally have been made in metal, so the present wooden nozzles must be later replacements. The surface has been re-gessoed and gilded. Some traces of early gilding on red bole (a reddish-coloured clay used in gilding) are visible. The donkey's coat is very smooth and has subsequently been oil gilded. The old holes for the original fixings to the wall are visible on the back.

Place of Origin

London (probably, carved)


1760-1765 (made)


Johnson, Thomas (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Pine, with water gilding and oil gilding

Marks and inscriptions

Label on reverse 'Chippendale bracket man & donkey bought by me Aug 1909 the property of Florence Grorden'


Height: 86 cm approx., Width: 59 cm approx.

Object history note

Based on a design published in Thomas Johnson's '150 New Designs' (1758-1761).
Probably carved in London.

Labels and date

ENGLISH; about 1760
Gilded wood

Based on a design in Thomas Johnson's One Hundred and Fifty New Designs (1758-1761). [pre October 2000]
British Galleries:
Like many Rococo carvings, this design is strongly asymmetrical. It combines a rural scene with abstract Rococo ornament. The carver based his design on a print by Thomas Johnson (1714-1788), a carver, designer and drawing master. [27/03/2003]


British Galleries; Household objects; Lighting


Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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