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Design - Design for the wall-decoration and cornice in the Green Dining Room, Victoria and Albert Museum
  • Design for the wall-decoration and cornice in the Green Dining Room, Victoria and Albert Museum
    Webb, Philip Speakman, born 1831 - died 1915
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Design for the wall-decoration and cornice in the Green Dining Room, Victoria and Albert Museum

  • Object:

    Design

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1866 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Webb, Philip Speakman, born 1831 - died 1915 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pencil, watercolour and gold metallic pigment

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mr H. B. Johnson

  • Museum number:

    E.5096-1960

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case A, shelf 181, box A

Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co took part in the 1862 Exhibition in London. In 1865 this relatively unknown firm was given the prestigious commission of designing the Green Dining Room, one of three new on-site refreshment rooms at the South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria and Albert Museum). Philip Webb designed the ceiling and much of the wall decoration, with its splendid moulded frieze of hare and hounds. Webb said he was inspired by the same decoration carved on the font in Newcastle Cathedral. He was famous for his drawings of animals, and the hare reappears in his tapestry designs. This beautifully-coloured drawing shows the treatment of the upper part of one wall. The design was largely carried out, although there would be some minor changes to the colour scheme. As executed, the eggs of the egg-and-dart cornice, for instance, were gilded, and placed against a red ground; the design shows these colours used in reverse.

Physical description

Pencil and watercolour drawing on paper. Highly finished, this design for decorating the upper parts of the walls in the Green Dining Room shows a repeated pattern of willow branches with fruit and orange and gold flowers; the willow leaves are pale green, against a darker green ground. Above, the portion of the frieze seen in this drawing contains a rectangular panel with a running dog, above and below which are indented panels decorated with plants and sun motifs. Crowning the design is an egg-and-dart cornice. Inscribed at foot: 'the blue panelling comes up to this line'.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)

Date

ca. 1866 (made)

Artist/maker

Webb, Philip Speakman, born 1831 - died 1915 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Pencil, watercolour and gold metallic pigment

Marks and inscriptions

The blue panelling comes up to this line
Inscribed in ink

Dimensions

Height: 49.4 cm, Width: 31.6 cm

Object history note

In late 1865 the Department of Science and Art commissioned the recently established firm of Morris & Co. to prepare designs for the Green Dining Room. Philip Webb was responsible for many details of the decoration under the direction of William Morris. The rectangular panels in the cornice alternately represent a running hare and a pursuing dog, an idea adopted from the font in Newcastle Cathedral according to Webb's own statement to Lethaby (see p.56, Vol.I of William Morris by May Morris, Oxford, 1936).

Descriptive line

Design for Victoria and Albert Museum by Philip Webb, Green Dining Room, ca. 1866

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

Physick, John. The Victoria and Albert Museum: The History of Its Building. London: The Victoria & Albert Museum, 1982.

Materials

Pencil; Watercolour; Gold metallic pigment; Paper

Techniques

Drawing; Watercolour painting

Subjects depicted

Cornice; Wall-decoration

Categories

Interiors; Tiles; History of the V&A; Designs; Drawings

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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