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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:

    c. 1770 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pencil, yellow and blue watercolour

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

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

Sir Robert Cunliffe bought the 'round glass' design.

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 design is for a sofa and mirror. The sofa is upholstered in pale blue fabric and features neoclassical moulding. An urn sits on either end of the sofa. The design is divided in half to show two alternative options.

The left hand side: above the sofa is a small circular mirror. The moulding beside this features an olive branch, leaf scrolls and two candle sockets. The large circular mirror about features a husk festoon across the glass, echoed on the other side, and a reclining figure.

The right hand side: above the sofa is a large medallion which features a sitting figure. The moulding features acanthus scrolls, a foliage festoon and two candle sockets. The large circular mirror features different neoclassical moulding on this side. The crest is topped by large acanthus scrolls.

The urn finial issues plumes of leaves from its top.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


c. 1770 (made)


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

Materials and Techniques

Pencil, yellow and blue watercolour

Marks and inscriptions

'The round glass and sopha Sir Robt. Cunliffe'
'The round glass sopha P [illegible]'
'Plate 2 No. 1'


Height: 53 cm mount, Width: 38 cm mount, Height: 31.4 cm design, Width: 27 cm design

Descriptive line

A design for a sofa and mirror; 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), p. 128.
Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1929, London: Board of Education, 1930.


Pencil; Watercolour



Subjects depicted

Festoon; Urn; Leaf scrolls; Olive branch; Sofa; Circle; Figures (representations); Medallion; Husks; Candle sockets; Looking glass


Designs; Interiors


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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