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  • Bracket
    Boyle, Richard 3rd Earl of Burlington, 4th Earl of Cork, born 1694 - died 1753
  • Enlarge image


  • Place of origin:

    London (probably, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1730 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Boyle, Richard 3rd Earl of Burlington, 4th Earl of Cork, born 1694 - died 1753 (designer)
    Kent, William (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted and gilded wood

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with the assistance of the Brigadier Clark Fund through Art Fund

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 54, case WE

Object Type
This bracket and its pair (museum no. W.1A-1988) are mentioned in the 1740 inventory of the contents of Tottenham Park, described as 'ten poettes heads on painted and gilt brackets (one ditto of Mr. Pope)'.

They are carved in imitation of stone and enriched with water gilding. The upper edge of the plinth has a cyma reversa moulding - that is a moulding that is convex in its upper part and concave below. The plinths are supported by scroll-shaped brackets decorated with a bead and reel moulding flanked by outward-facing cyma reversa borders. The C-scroll pendant frames an acanthus leaf.

Materials & Making
Water gilding gives a particularly bright and shiny effect, unlike oil gilding which is duller. In water gilding, the base coat (a reddish clay known as 'bole') is moistened with water before the gold leaf is applied. When the work is dry the gold is burnished with a special tool.

Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington, was the chief proponent of the Palladian style. He designed Tottenham Park, Wiltshire, from 1721, adding four corner pavilions in 1738. The house belonged to Charles, Viscount Bruce who had married Burlington's sister, Juliana, in 1719. It was Burlington's first architectural commission and launched his career as an architect.

The interior furnishings were designed by William Kent.

Place of Origin

London (probably, made)


ca. 1730 (made)


Boyle, Richard 3rd Earl of Burlington, 4th Earl of Cork, born 1694 - died 1753 (designer)
Kent, William (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Painted and gilded wood


Height: 60.96 cm, Width: 35.56 cm, Depth: 26.67 cm

Object history note

Possibly designed by Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington (born in London, 1694, died there in 1753) and William Kent (born in Bridlington, Yorkshire, 1685, died in London, 1748) and almost certainly made in London

Descriptive line

Bracket of painted and gilded wood, possibly designed by Richard Boyle or William Kent, ca.1730

Labels and date


ENGLISH; about 1730
Painted and gilded wood

From Tottenham Park, Wiltshire. The house was designed for Charles Lord Bruce from 1721 by Richard Boyle, Earl of Burlington (1694-1753). The brackets may well have been designed by his close friend and collaborator William Kent (c.1685-1748). An inventory of about 1740 lists in Lord Bruce's study 'ten poettes heads on painted and gilt brackets'.

Purchased by the Brigadier Clark Fund through the National Art-Collections Fund. [pre October 2000]




Architectural fittings; Woodwork; British Galleries


Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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