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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:

    late 18th century (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

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 oval mirror. The sofa is upholstered in blue fabric with a leaf scroll design. The design is divided in half to show two separate options.

Left-hand side: Two of the legs share the same design, the other leg is different. The end of the sofa features an urn. A laurel festoons is hung over the arm of a mermaid who also holds a candle socket. The frame of the oval mirror above features egg and dart moulding and leaf scrolls. The crest features large acanthus leaves and scrolls, and a laurel branch.

Right-hand side: The three legs feature the same design. A short, wide urn sits on the end of the sofa. A putti supports two candle sockets. The frame of the oval mirror features egg and dart moulding and a design of foliage and flowers. The crest features laurel and ribbon moulding and branches of laurel leaves.

Shared by both are a medallion which features a Roman head under the mirror and a cartouche on the crest with two figures.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


late 18th century (made)


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

Materials and Techniques

Ink, pencil, blue and yellow watercolour

Marks and inscriptions

'Plate 1 Do. 1'


Height: 53 cm mount, Width: 38 cm mount, Height: 28.5 cm design, Width: 30 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).
Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1929, London: Board of Education, 1930.





Subjects depicted

Laurel; Leaf scrolls; Acanthus; Candle socket; Looking glass; Mermaid; Egg and dart; Mirror; Foliage; Medallion; Putti; Sofa; Urn




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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