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A design for a silver sauceboat.
  • A design for a silver sauceboat.
    Sir William Chambers, born 1723 - died 1796
  • Enlarge image

A design for a silver sauceboat.

  • Place of origin:


  • Date:


  • Artist/Maker:

    Sir William Chambers, born 1723 - died 1796 (designer)
    Yenn, John, born 1750 - died 1832 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pencil, pen and ink and yellow and green washes on laid paper, watermarked with IV.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

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

Physical description

A drawing of a silver sauceboat. Profile. Shown full size 168 x 276 mm.

Place of Origin





Sir William Chambers, born 1723 - died 1796 (designer)
Yenn, John, born 1750 - died 1832 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Pencil, pen and ink and yellow and green washes on laid paper, watermarked with IV.


Height: 250 mm, Width: 353 mm

Object history note

A design for a silver sauceboat.
The body is plain but with acanthus leaves below the spout. The handle is formed as a cut vine stem, which terminates on the body with leaves. The foot is decorated with a laurel leaf. Also on the sheet is a strip of ornament showing acanthus leaves interlocking with guilloche, which may represent an alternative body treatment.
The design is presented in a wash line mount on the sheet, suggesting that it is a presentation drawing.
For a virtually identical presentation drawing of the same object see E.4990-1910. The present drawing differs only in having a slightly raised base and showing the guilloche ornament.
Bought together with 72 other drawings from Major H. Bateman via J. Starkie Gardner on the 29th November 1910, for £ 37-0-0.

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.
Chambers also designed furniture and silver. The silver is usually linked to clients for whom he was also designing architectural schemes.
The designs for silver are all in the hand of the architect John Yenn, who was a pupil of Chambers, for whom he became a leading draughtsman, working for him from 1764 until the late 1770s, when he began to practice on his own account.

Descriptive line

A design for a silver sauceboat. by John Yenn, after Sir William Chambers, c. 1770

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

‘The silver designs of Sir William Chambers: a resumé and recent discoveries’, The Silver Society Journal, Vol. 7, 1995, pp. 335-341.

‘Sir William Chambers and John Yenn; designs for silver’, Burlington Magazine, Vol. 128, No. 994, January 1986, pp. 31-35.

‘Silver, Ormolu and ceramics ‘ in John Harris and Michael Snodin (eds), Sir William Chambers , Architect to George III, 1996, pp. 149-162.

‘Sir William Chambers; Catalogues of Architectural Drawings in the Victoria and Albert Museum’ Michael Snodin (ed), 1996, cat 852.


Material; Pencil; Grey wash


Technique; Painting

Subjects depicted

Guilloche; Elevation; Sauce tureens; Acanthus


Designs; Drawings; Metalwork; Silver; Silver Designs; English


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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