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Drawing - Design for an oval-back chair with red upholstery from; 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, Upholserer Carver & Cabinet Maker. Selected from his Portfolios at his Decease, by C. H. Tatham Architect. AD 1800.
  • Design for an oval-back chair with red upholstery from
    Linnell, John, born 1729 - died 1796
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Design for an oval-back chair with red upholstery from; 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, Upholserer Carver & Cabinet Maker. Selected from his Portfolios at his Decease, by C. H. Tatham Architect. AD 1800.

  • Object:

    Drawing

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    ca.1770-1775 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:

    pencil, pen and red and yellow watercolour

  • Museum number:

    E.82-1929

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case W, shelf 8, box C2

John Linnell produced varied designs for armchairs in the second half of the 18th century, using neoclassical motifs in imaginative ways. Neoclassicism became popular in Britain during the second half of the 18th century, inspired by the classical styles of ancient Greece and Rome. In this design for an armchair Linnell has incorporated ball finials clasped by leaves which terminate the armrests, a popular motif which also appears on some of his other designs. The legs of this chair are square and straight in structure, once again typical of the neoclassical style. The seat rail features carved detail and the presence of a central cartouche surrounded by foliage was a fashionable decorative element. A detailed sketch of this cartouche design has been drawn above the chair, suggesting that Linnell viewed this as an important aspect of the design and probably wanted to exhibit this to a potential patron. The precision of this design demonstrates its purpose as a presentation drawing.

A set of chairs very similar to this were commissioned ca.1775 for Harewood House, Yorkshire owned by Edward Lascelles (1st Earl of Harewood) attesting to the popularity of chairs of this design (Hayward and Kirkham p.45). Splendid chairs such as this would have been created for the state rooms of the house, for example drawing rooms and sitting rooms, which were intended to create a grand impression.

Physical description

A design for an oval-back armchair with red upholstery and a yellow frame. The armrests are also upholstered and terminate in balls encased in leaves. The armrest supports curve inwards and attach to the top of the front chair legs. The seat frame is decorated with a central oval motif surrounded by foliage. A design for this feature is sketched in detail above the chair. The front legs of the chair are rectilinear in form and taper at the bottom while the back legs are raked. One of a set of designs for furniture, including chairs and state beds, interior decoration, including pier glasses, and architectural fittings including chimney pieces and doors. In a volume.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)

Date

ca.1770-1775 (made)

Artist/maker

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

Materials and Techniques

pencil, pen and red and yellow watercolour

Dimensions

Height: 21.2 cm volume, Width: 15.1 cm volume

Descriptive line

Design for an oval-back chair with red upholstery in pen, ink, red and yellow watercolour, from a volume of designs for furniture, interior decoration and architectural fittings, by John Linnell, Great Britain, ca.1770-1775

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

Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1929, London: Board of Education, 1930.
Hayward, H. and Kirkham, P. William and John Linnell Eighteenth Century London Furniture Makers, London; Studio Vista, Christie’s (1980) pp.83, 90, 118,127

Materials

Paper (fiber product); Ink; Wash; Watercolour; Pencil; Material

Techniques

Drawing

Subjects depicted

Subject; Foliage; Cartouche; Upholstery

Categories

Drawings; Furniture; Designs

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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