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Pattern board

Pattern board

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1787-90 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted pinewood, the stand in beech and elm

  • Museum number:

    W.11:1, 2-1993

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 118; The Wolfson Gallery, case WW []

Object Type
Pattern boards were either used in workshops to guide painters and carvers or in shops or warehouses, to allow clients to choose details of a pattern. This board shows two colourways on the two sides, with slight variations in the design. The design, with the Prince of Wales' feathers and drapery, is thought to have originated in about 1787, when the then Prince of Wales took on the powers of regent, at a time when his father, George III, was suffering a temporary bout of insanity, as a result of the illness porphyria. The design became very popular and was published in a design book as late as 1802.

Subjects Depicted
The board depicts the back of a chair, decorated with the Prince of Wales feathers, laurel leaves and berries. It is similar to a design of about 1788 by the prolific Lancaster firm of Gillow & Co.

From about 1770, painted furniture was widely used, particularly in bedchambers and dressing rooms. Painted Adam-style designs became popular and the Prince of Wales feathers became a common motif after Prince George (later George IV) came of age in 1783.

Materials & Making
The board is a panel of pine made up from two vertically grained planks of unequal size. It has two crossed battens, a backplate, two rings and steel spring at the back. These allow the panel to be mounted and adjusted by the user.

Physical description

A rectangular board of pine, painted on one side with a chair back showing the Prince of Wales' feathers and drapery, the board showing two colour variations on the two sides of the chairback. The board is attached by brass rings at the back to a pole stand, with a simple, turned base. The board can be adjusted in height

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


ca. 1787-90 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Painted pinewood, the stand in beech and elm

Object history note

Made in Britain

Descriptive line

Pattern board of pine, painted with a chair back with two variants of decoration. English, c. 1790

Labels and date

British Galleries:
This board shows two slightly different schemes for painting the back of a chair. It was probably used by a furniture decorator as a sample board. Painted Adam-style ornament became common on furniture in the 1780s. [27/03/2003]

Production Note

Susan Stuart suggests that this design was created in about 1787, when the Prince of Wales temporarily took on a Regency, at a time when his father, George III was temporarily insance as a result of the illness porphyria


Pine; Beech; Elm


Painting; Turning


Furniture; Fashion


Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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