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A Miscellaneous Collection of Original Designs, made, and for the most part executed, during an extensive Practice of many years in the first line of his Profession, by John Linnell, Upholsterer Carver & Cabinet Maker. Selected from his Portfolio's at his Decease, by C. H. Tatham Architect. AD 1800.

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1760 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Linnell, John, born 1729 - died 1796 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Ink, pencil, red and yellow watercolour

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case W, shelf 8, box C7

John Linnell (1729-1796) was the son of the famous furniture maker William Linnell (ca. 1703-1763). Unlike most furniture makers, John Linnell gained a design education at the St. Martin's Lane Academy, which was founded by William Hogarth in 1735. In 1750, aged 21, he joined his father's firm as a designer. On his father's death in 1763, John Linnell took over the family firm. During his lifetime John Linnell produced high quality furniture, which rivalled that of other leading furniture makers such as Thomas Chippendale, John Cobb and William Ince and John Mayhew.

Physical description

A design for a state bed with rococo and neoclassical motifs. The bed is upholstered in red. The curtains are fringed and large tassels hang from the tester. The headboard features a cartouche, putti, a torch, arrows, scrolls and festoons. The bed posts are fluted with acanthus leaves at the base. Two sphinxes sit at the foot of the bed, under each bedpost. Their long wings form the valance. The carving on the tester features rococo motifs. The tester itself is topped by a bird finial, possibly an eagle, holding what could be a trident.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


ca. 1760 (made)


Linnell, John, born 1729 - died 1796 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Ink, pencil, red and yellow watercolour

Marks and inscriptions

'Plate Do 2'


Height: 53.3 mm mount, Width: 38 mm mount, Height: 30.2 cm design, Width: 23 cm design

Descriptive line

Design for a state bed with red upholstery, large bird finial and two sphinx bed posts; John Linnell.

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

Helena Hayward and Pat Kirkham,William and John Linnell; eighteenth century London furniture makers (London, ca. 1980), pp. 21, 79 (v1), 5 (v2).
Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1929, London: Board of Education, 1930.


Ink; Pencil; Watercolour



Subjects depicted

Tassel; Acanthus; Scrolls; State bed; Cartouche; Sphinx; Festoons; Fluting; Arrows; Putti; Fringe; Torch




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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