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Architectural design
  • Architectural design
    Sir William Chambers, born 1723 - died 1796
  • Enlarge image

Architectural design

  • Place of origin:

    Britain (made)

  • Date:

    18th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Sir William Chambers, born 1723 - died 1796 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen and ink, pencil and green and grey washes

  • Museum number:

    E.5025-1910

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case A, shelf 229, box A

Elevation of a pedestal and an incomplete elevation of a pedestal by leading architect and designer Sir William Chambers (1723-1796). On the verso, an alternative design for the same pedestal. The design on the recto of this drawing is probably in the hand of John Yenn and it shows a pedestal of square section, tapering toward the base. The side panels of the main part of the pedestal are decorated with recessed panel, echoing the taper. This is coloured green, and filled with rising scrolling foliage issuing from a vase with serpent handles and three legs. The top is decorated with two oval cartouches which contains a rapidly-sketched standing figure. The cornice above is decorated with bands of egg-and-lead and egg-and-dart moulding. The design also contains a plinth and the outline of another pedestal. On the verso of the sheet is a drawing of a third pedestal also probably by Yenn. The pedestal shown on the recto is very similar to one in the Great Gallery at Blenheim, carved by Richard Hayward in 1772, and intended to support an antique head of Alexander the Great (Goodison 1990, p.72). Although it was executed in white marble, the exploratory nature of cat.603 suggests that the pedestal was originally intended to be in different colours. A full-size drawing of the decorative side panel exists in the collection (3404). With the exception of the inclusion of two anthemions on the centre line, the decorative scheme is identical. The drawing, inscribed on the backing sheet in C.J. Richardson's hand Sir W. Chambers, is of early nineteenth-century date but is no doubt traced from one of the eighteenth-century.

Chambers was born in Sweden and died in London. He travelled widely, visiting China, and studied architecture at the Ecole des Arts, Paris, from 1749 and in Italy from 1750 to 1755. Many of his drawings from this period are contained in his important 'Franco-Italian' album, held in the V&A. Chambers moved to London in 1755 and published his influential Treatise on Civil Architecture in 1759. Chambers demonstrated the breadth of his style in buildings such as Gower (later Carrington) House and Melbourne House, London, in such country houses as Duddingston, Scotland, and in the garden architecture he designed for Wilton House, Wiltshire, and at Kew Gardens. He became head of government building in 1782, and in this capacity built Somerset House, London.

Physical description

Elevation of a pedestal and an incomplete elevation of a pedestal. On the verso, an alternative design for the same pedestal. The design on the recto of this drawing is probably in the hand of John Yenn and it shows a pedestal of square section, tapering toward the base.

Place of Origin

Britain (made)

Date

18th century (made)

Artist/maker

Sir William Chambers, born 1723 - died 1796 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Pen and ink, pencil and green and grey washes

Dimensions

Height: 401 mm, Width: 225 mm

Object history note

Bought from J. Starkie Gardner, 1910

Descriptive line

Elevation of a pedestal and an incomplete elevation of a pedestal, 18th century, Sir William Chambers (1723-1796).

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

Snodin, M. Sir William Chambers. London: V&A Publications, 1996.

Production Note

Attribution note: The side panels of the main part of the pedestal are decorated with recessed panel, echoing the taper. This is coloured green, and filled with rising scrolling foliage issuing from a vase with serpent handles and three legs. The top is decorated with two oval cartouches which contains a rapidly-sketched standing figure. The cornice above is decorated with bands of egg-and-lead and egg-and-dart moulding. The design also contains a plinth and the outline of another pedestal. On the verso of the sheet is a drawing of a third pedestal also probably by Yenn. The pedestal shown on the recto is very similar to one in the Great Gallery at Blenheim, carved by Richard Hayward in 1772, and intended to support an antique head of Alexander the Great (Goodison 1990, p.72). Although it was executed in white marble, the exploratory nature of cat.603 suggests that the pedestal was originally intended to be in different colours. A full-size drawing of the decorative side panel exists in the collection (3404). With the exception of the inclusion of two anthemions on the centre line, the decorative scheme is identical. The drawing, inscribed on the backing sheet in C.J. Richardson's hand Sir W. Chambers, is of early nineteenth-century date but is no doubt traced from one of the eighteenth-century.

Materials

Pen and ink; Pencil; Grey wash

Techniques

Drawing; Painting

Subjects depicted

Serpent; Moulding; Handles; Pedestal; Plinth; Elevations (drawings); Scrolling foliage; Panels

Categories

Designs; Drawings; Architecture

Production Type

Design

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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