- Place of origin:
Penhallow, John (commissioned by)
- Materials and Techniques:
Oak panelling and moulding, with applied cedar carving
- Museum number:
1029 to B-1903
- Gallery location:
British Galleries, Room 56, The Djanogly Gallery, case WS 
The chamber is panelled in oak with bolection mouldings (mouldings that project beyond the surface). It is decorated with cedarwood carving, and there is a semicircular (astragal) moulding along the entire cornice.Two doors are placed on each of the side walls (east and west). Before the room was removed to the Museum, there was a mullioned window of pinewood, with two pointed arches, in the north-west corner. This is recorded in a plan and watercolour of the room, both executed by Hanslip Fletcher (1874-1956) before the sale and demolition in 1903.
The room was built between 1686 and 1688. Its moulding and carving are characteristic of English Baroque panelling and ornament of this date.
It was built for John Penhallow for a house at 3 Clifford's Inn, Fleet Street, London. The overmantel is surmounted with the coat of arms of the Penhallow family with that of the Penwaring family. This records the marriage of an earlier John Penhallow and Mary, daughter and co-heiress of Vivian Penwaring, in about 1500.
Four oak panelled walls with applied carving in cedarwood. Chimney piece with
overmantel on north wall, consisiting of frame surmounted by the arms of Penhallow quartering Penwaring, with festoons of fruit and flowers. 17th century Flemish landscape painting acquired for the Clifford's Inn Room in 1923. Shelf with projecting centre, and beneath it, architrave with two bands of ornaments, the outer floral and foliate with amorini in the corner, inner formed by acanthus leaves mitred round panel carved with festoon of drapery. Fluted marble lining for fireplace opening.
Two doors on each of the side walls (east and west). Those nearest the chimney piece and surmounted with a broken pediment, with scrolls terminating in a rosette; the architrave formed by acanthus leaves, with corner brackets at the top; winged head of cherub, in high relief, immediately above the door. Those doors furtherest from chimney surmounted by lunettes, with scroll spandrells, and head of lion placed below the keystone. The architrave decorated with broad leaf and astragal mouldings. Richly carved foliate scolls in the panel immediately above the door and corner barckets at the top. Before the room was removed to the V & A, there was a mullioned window of pinewood, with two pointed arch in the North West corner. This is recorded in the plan and a watercolour of the room, both executed by by Hanslip Fletcher (1874 - 1956), before the sale and demolition. Window thought to have been inserted in the 19th century, making the panelling somewhat assymetrical. Window not included in the 1903 display.
Bolection moulded panelling between the doors, windows and chimneys. Long upper panels separated from short lower ones by a bolection moulded dado rail. Two broad upper and lower panels sepate the doors, one broad and one narrow series of panels separate the pedimented doors from the wall with the fireplace. Astragal moulding along entire cornice.
Two window openings along end wall, separated by assymetrical bolection panelling, (narrow left and broad central and right).
Place of Origin
Penhallow, John (commissioned by)
Materials and Techniques
Oak panelling and moulding, with applied cedar carving
Object history note
Bought from Messrs Durlacher, London. Panelling commissioned by John Penhallow, who first occupied a chamber (Inn of Chancery) in 1674 and was readmitted in 1688; Clifford's Inn was rebuilt between 1686 and 1688
Taken from 3 Clifford's Inn, Fleet Street, London before demolition in 1903.
Notes from R.P. 90998
20 July 1903 Report of Jackson
on the old panelled room in the buildings of Cliffords Inn about to be pulled down. "It is a very good, and practically a perfect example of a well finished interior dating from about 1700 or rather earlier". He and others on staff recommend sanction be given for purchase.
30 July 1903 Minute
reports that photographs and drawings, owned by Fairbrother, Ellis & Co., are available to the Museum to assist with reconstruction.
31 July 1903 List of objects for purchase
details the panellings and carvings from 3 Cliffords Inn from Messrs Durlacher Bros. For £606.7.6. An illustrated catalogue has been sent to the Art Library.
20 January 1904 National Art Library
reports on the arms upon the Cliffords Inn woodwork. Per Maclean's as being that of John Penhallow.
19 January 1904 Letter from George Booth (Secretary to Cliffords Inn) to Kendrick
reports on findings in the records of the Society. There is no record of the panelling but the occupier of the chamber was one John Penhallo. In 1688 Penhallo was admitted to the chamber in which the panelling was erected (after the building which housed his earlier chamber was torn down). 1688 records show: "in consideration of the interest which he had in his old chamber before it was rebuilt and also of the money which he hath laid in rebuilding the same chamber". Penhallo himself paid for the rebuilt chamber. He died in 1716 and his brother, Benjamin Penhallo, was then admitted. Benjamin died in 1722.
Earliest records spell Penhallow with a "w"; it is omitted in later records.
1905 Correspondence from Booth
suggests that perhaps John and Benjamin Penhallow were brothers of Samuel Penhallow. He knows little of the descent from John Penhallow & Mary Penwain.
1905 Correspondence with Charles Penhallow of Boston
contains additional family history.
Historical context note
Clifford's Inn, Fleet St, London was an Inn of Chancery, a college under the control of the Inner Temple. It consisted of a hall and chambers where students studied the Law from visiting lecturers before joining one of the Inns of Court. Its origins date back to 1310 when Robert de Clifford, fifth Baron Clifford was granted tenure of the suburban property by Edward II. Its most famous alumnus was Sir Edward Coke (d. 1634) whose great achievement was the foundation of English administrative law. After the civil war the Inns of Chancery declined as the system of legal education changed, and they became "little more than dining clubs", voluntary associations of lawyers presided over by an elected treasurer. Fellows were admitted to a set of chambers for life, or sometimes for one or two lives beyond their own, leading to the furnishing of chambers in a proprietorial, and comfortable fashion, as in the Museum's Clifford's Inn room set up in 1686 (check) for John Penhallow, panelling from which is on display in the British Galleries. Dickens mentions Clifford's Inn several times in his works, evoking atmospheric legal nooks of the Inner Temple, by which time the Inns of Chancery were effectively defunct. Clifford's Inn was damaged and rebuilt after the Great fire in 1666, but largely demolished in 1934, and replaced by an office block.
Clifford's Inn, Fleet St, was an Inn of Chancery, a college with hall and chambers where students studied the Law before joining one of the Inns of Court. The property was originally granted to Robert de Clifford, fifth Baron Clifford by Edward II in 1310. After the civil war the Inns of Chancery declined as the system of legal education changed, and they became "little more than dining clubs" for lawyers. Fellows were admitted to a set of chambers for life, which partly explains the high quality of the panelling from Clifford's Inn on display in the British Galleries. Dickens mentions Clifford's Inn several times in his works, evoking atmospheric legal nooks of the Inner Temple. Clifford's Inn was damaged and rebuilt after the Great fire in 1666, but largely demolished in 1934, and replaced by an office block.
Panelled room; panelling commissioned by John Penhallow in 1686-1688, and taken from 3 Clifford's Inn, Fleet Street, London before demolition in 1903. Made in London
Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)
LONDON, Victoria & Albert Museum: The Panelled Rooms. 2. Clifford's Inn by Oliver Brackett. (London, 1914), See bibliography on p. 16
Simon Houfe, Delineator of Change: the London drawings of Hanslip Fletcher, in Country Life, January 18th 1973, pp.174-5 (fig. 2 showing the room, furnished, as occupied by Frederick Fenn, before its removal to the Museum)
Herbert Cescinsky & Ernest Gribble: Early English Furniture & Woodwork. Vols. I (London, 1922), pp. 329-348.
Labels and date
Prosperous householders in the late 17th century frequently commissioned oak panelling for their grandest rooms. Large oak panels such as these were an innovation of the Restoration period. The attractive colour and grain was set off by strong architectural features such as the bold pediments above the doors and the frieze of crisply carved acanthus leaves. The raised panels are framed in mouldings with a curved profile, known as bolection mouldings. [27/03/2003]
Panelling from Clifford's Inn
Made in London
Oak panelling with cedar carving
Commissioned by John Penhallow (d.1716) barrister of Clifford's Inn
Bolection panelling was common in late 17th century interiors. The doorway shows the influence of continental baroque. Framed by acanthus-leaf moulding,the broken pediment flanks a plinth supported by a lion's head. The Penhallow coat of arms over the fireplace recorded the original occupant of the chamber from 1688. [pre 1996]
Architectural fittings; Interiors
Furniture and Woodwork Collection