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Architectural design

  • Place of origin:

    Britain (made)

  • Date:

    18th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen and ink, pencil and watercolour. Laid on to a nineteenth-century backing sheet which has been partly removed.

  • Museum number:

    E.4983-1910

  • Gallery location:

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

Elevation of a girandole by John Yenn (1750-1821) from the office of leading architect and designer Sir William Chambers (1723-1796). This drawing almost certainly follows a design by Chambers. The mirror of the sconce is pear shaped and bordered by two sinuous gilded-wood palm fronds that cross asymmetrically at the top. At the bottom of the mirror, the two stems are tied with ribbon. Below this is a lion mask. The lion is holding in its mouth the stems of two serpentine foliate branches, which hold a pair of candles.

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 girandole. The mirror of the sconce is pear shaped and bordered by two sinuous gilded-wood palm fronds that cross asymmetrically at the top. At the bottom of the mirror, the two stems are tied with ribbon. Below this is a lion mask. The lion is holding in its mouth the stems of two serpentine foliate branches, which hold a pair of candles.

Place of Origin

Britain (made)

Date

18th century (made)

Artist/maker

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

Materials and Techniques

Pen and ink, pencil and watercolour. Laid on to a nineteenth-century backing sheet which has been partly removed.

Dimensions

Height: 346 mm, Width: 232 mm

Object history note

Bought from J. Starkie Gardner, 1910.

Descriptive line

Elevation of a girandole, 18th century, John Yenn (1750-1821) office of 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: A drawing by John Yenn, following a design almost certainly by Chambers.

Materials

Pen and ink; Pencil; Watercolour

Techniques

Drawing; Painting

Subjects depicted

Mask; Ribbon; Palm leaf; Lion (animal); Elevation; Girandole; Candles; Serpentine (shape); Branches

Categories

Designs; Drawings; Metalwork

Production Type

Design

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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