Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Design for an armchair 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:


  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    ca.1768-1770 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:

    pencil, pen and yellow and blue watercolour

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case W, shelf 8, box C1

This presentation design for an armchair demonstrates John Linnell’s incorporation of neoclassical forms within his furniture designs. The neoclassical style was becoming popular towards the end of the 18th century and was inspired by the art and design of Classical Greece and Rome. Features of this design such as the Vitruvian scroll on the chair seat rail and the paterae at the top of the chair legs are examples of the types of decoration that Linnell was using.

Chairs such as these could have been placed in the important state rooms of the house such as the drawing room. The emphasis upon the upholstery attests to the importance placed upon comfort and convenience during the latter half of the 18th century. The blue patterned watercolour suggests that this chair would have been upholstered with a blue damask material while the wooden chair frame and legs would have been gilded. Interestingly, two different patterns of upholstery are shown in this piece.

Physical description

A design for an armchair in pencil, pen and blue and yellow watercolour in the neoclassical style. The crest rail of the chair contains a portrait medallion. The chair legs are round and fluted, terminating at the bottom with what are possibly acanthus buds and terminating at the top with patera. The armrest supports and the front of the seat frame are curved. The seat frame is decorated with a vitruvian scroll. The upholstery is coloured with a blue, patterned fabric and the carved wooden chair frame is coloured with a yellow wash. 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)


ca.1768-1770 (made)


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

Materials and Techniques

pencil, pen and yellow and blue watercolour

Marks and inscriptions



Height: 23 cm volume, Width: 15.2 cm volume

Descriptive line

Design for an armchair in pencil, pen, blue and yellow wash from a volume of designs for furniture, interior decoration and architectural fittings, by John Linnell, Great Britain, ca.1768-1770

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)


Paper (fiber product); Ink; Wash; Watercolour



Subjects depicted

Subject; Medallion; Vitruvian scroll; Patera; Upholstery; Fluting


Drawings; Furniture; Designs


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.