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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. 1770 to 1775 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Ink, pencil, blue and yellow watercolour

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case W, shelf 8, box C5

This sofa design is similar to other designs that Linnell drew for Robert Child for Osterley Park, Middlesex.

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

This is a design for a sofa with blue upholstery. The four legs are each decorated differently. All have ball feet. Each arm features a different design for the carving. The frieze features vitruvian scrolls. Husks curl around the top of the sofa, with a central cartouche with two figures on it.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


ca. 1770 to 1775 (made)


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

Materials and Techniques

Ink, pencil, blue and yellow watercolour

Marks and inscriptions

'[illegible] to full back like chairs'
in very faint pencil


Height: 53 cm mount, Width: 38 cm mount, Height: 14.4 cm design, Width: 22 cm design

Descriptive line

A design for a sofa; 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. 119 (v1), 132 (v2).
Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1929, London: Board of Education, 1930.


Pencil; Ink; Watercolour



Subjects depicted

Vitruvian scrolls; Husks; Ball foot; Sofa




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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