The Five Orders of Architecture thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Architecture, Room 128

The Five Orders of Architecture

Model
ca. 1780 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This precious, elegant object of a courtly type - the last word in luxury - has been associated with Marie Antoinette (1755-1793), queen of France as the wife of Louis XVI from 1774 to 1793, as it was listed in the Jones collection inventory, 15 May 1882, alongside furniture also supposedly linked with Marie Antoinette. Although there is no firm documentary evidence, the connection made in the Jones document at least indicates the importance attached by the collector and the Museum to such putative royal connections when collecting French decorative art. This miniature representation of the orders of architecture as defined by Vitruvius - Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian, with the later addition of Composite - continued to be described in label and publication texts as linked to the French queen. William Maskell's 1883 Jones collection handbook, for example, stated that the piece was "designed and made for Marie Antoinette, in order to teach her (it is said) something of the science". This information may have originated with Jones's manservant Arthur Habgood, who inherited Jones's house and probably assisted curators in compiling the inventory. Versailles curator Christian Baulez has recently found a reference to a payment made by the goldsmith R.-A. Drais in 1790 for a set of seven lapis columns that may or may not be related to this object.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Lapis lazuli columns, mounted in gold; on a base of red porphyry mounted in ormolu
Brief Description
Architectural model, 'The Five Orders of Architecture', lapis lazuli columns, mounted in silver gilt perhaps made by Robert Arnould Drais, France, ca.1780
Physical Description
Lapis lazuli columns, mounted in gold, on a base of red porphyry and in ormolu resting on ball feet.
Dimensions
  • Height: 27.8cm
  • Base length: 36cm
  • Depth: 15.5cm
Style
Credit line
Bequeathed by John Jones
Object history
This object has been associated with Marie Antoinette, queen of France, wife of Louis XVI from 1774 to 1793. Latterly in the John Jones collection.
Subjects depicted
Summary
This precious, elegant object of a courtly type - the last word in luxury - has been associated with Marie Antoinette (1755-1793), queen of France as the wife of Louis XVI from 1774 to 1793, as it was listed in the Jones collection inventory, 15 May 1882, alongside furniture also supposedly linked with Marie Antoinette. Although there is no firm documentary evidence, the connection made in the Jones document at least indicates the importance attached by the collector and the Museum to such putative royal connections when collecting French decorative art. This miniature representation of the orders of architecture as defined by Vitruvius - Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian, with the later addition of Composite - continued to be described in label and publication texts as linked to the French queen. William Maskell's 1883 Jones collection handbook, for example, stated that the piece was "designed and made for Marie Antoinette, in order to teach her (it is said) something of the science". This information may have originated with Jones's manservant Arthur Habgood, who inherited Jones's house and probably assisted curators in compiling the inventory. Versailles curator Christian Baulez has recently found a reference to a payment made by the goldsmith R.-A. Drais in 1790 for a set of seven lapis columns that may or may not be related to this object.
Bibliographic References
  • Baker, Malcolm, and Brenda Richardson (eds.), A Grand Design: The Art of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London: V&A Publications, 1999.
  • List of Objects in the Art Division, South Kensington Museum acquired during the Year 1882. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1883. pp. 77
  • Catalogue of the Jones Bequest. 1924
  • Sutton, Denys. 'A Born Virtuoso'. Apollo. 1972. 95. no. 121, pp. 160-1
Collection
Accession Number
853-1882

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record createdAugust 5, 2003
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