Pedestal thumbnail 1
Pedestal thumbnail 2
Not currently on display at the V&A

Pedestal

ca. 1825-1850 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This pedestal and its pair (W.5A-1946) are of terracotta or Coade stone (a form of patent ceramic), cast after a version of a pedestal design by the architect and designer William Kent (1685-1748), inspired by a design by the architect Inigo Jones (1573-1652) for a stone pedestal for garden use by the great collector of classical antiquities, Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel (1585-1646). The earliest version of Kent's design was carved by James Richards (1721-1767) for the Red Saloon at Houghton Hall, Norfolk. Several other versions of the design are known, designed for Hampton Court Palace and Chiswick House, Middlesex and a giltwood version of the design is in the V&A collections (W.47&A-1962). All versions show slight differences (women’s heads, wreaths of acanthus, or pendants of vines). This pair were probably made in the 19th century but the exact date is unknown. Pieces in painted terracotta or Coade stone would have been designed to stand in a conservatory, orangery, or other garden building, to support sculpture. The intention was that they would imitate carved stone.




object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Terracotta or Coade stone, painted to imitate stone
Brief Description
Pedestal or plinth for sculpture, in the form of a term, with the head of a boy supporting an Ionic capital below a square top with incurved sides. The pedestal is a pair with W.5A-1946 and is made of terracotta or Coade stone, painted grey to imitate stone. The head of this figure is turned slightly to the left, mirroring the pose of W.5A-1946.



Physical Description
Pedestal or plinth for sculpture, in the form of a term figure, with the head of a boy supporting an Ionic capital below a square top with incurved sides. The pedestal is a pair with W.5A-1946 and is made of terracotta or Coade stone, painted grey to imitate stone.

Above a triple-stepped base, the tapering shaft is in the form of a scrolling console, the scrolls visible at the sides, above a narrow, concave base. The front and sides show recessed panels cast with overlapping scales. The Ionic capital is supported on the head of a boy, with curling hair,looking slightly to the left. The bust of the boy is surrounded by a wreath of laurel, tied at the front and running three quarters of the way down the shaft, almost meeting the top of a large upright acanthus leaf which rises from the base.



Construction

The cast is hollow, with a central iron rod, the nut of which is visible countersunk into the underside of the base, which is weighted. One edge moulding shows evidence of scrapes to determine the original colour. Though these have now been painted over, it is clear that there are several paint schemes under the current one. On the back, Proper Right corner of the base there are remnants of a pink paint that appear to have been applied over the current grey paint.
Dimensions
  • Height: 115.6cm (From departmental file)
  • Depth: 22.7cm (From departmental file)
  • Width: 25.4cm (From departmental file)
Style
Object history
Purchased from A.J. Rufford & Partners Ltd., 1 Pont Street, SW1, with its pair (W.5A-1946) for £55 (See Registered File 46/379). No earlier history of the pedestals is recorded. At the time of purchase they were described as of 'painted terracotta' and it was noted that the head of one figure was detached. It is the other one (W.5A-1946) that appears to have suffered this damage.



This pedestals relate to Roman terms or boundary posts used in gardens, which showed tapering bodies topped by heads. They are versions of a design of the early seventeenth century for garden terms by the architect Inigo Jones (1573-1652) for the great collector Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel (1585-1646). It may have been one of the Inigo Jones' pedestals that was sold by Christie's 10 December 1985, lot 244, minus its head.



When Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington (1694-1753) was building Chiswick House, Middlesex, between 1726 and 1729, he created similar term figures for the gardens with his architect and designer William Kent (1685-1748).



At almost the same time Kent was designing pedestals of similar form for interiors, where they were intended to hold candelabra or vases. These were generally gilded. For the Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole (1676-1745) at Houghton Hall, Norfolk, Kent designed a set of such pedestals for the Red Saloon, and these were supplied by the carver James Richards (1721-17). For Walpole's brother-in-law Charles, 2nd Viscount Townshend (1674-1738) Kent supplied another version of the design for the Marble Hall at Raynham, Norfolk. In 1735 Kent designed giltwood pedestals of a slightly different form for Lady Burlington's Garden Room at Chiswick, made by the carver John Boson (1720-1743). These are now at Chatsworth House, Derbyshire. They are on high, scrolling feet. A set of similar giltwood pedestals, also raised on four high, scrolled feet and with female busts in place of boys, was supplied to Hampton Court Palace in 1732-3 by Benjamin Goodison (c.1700-1767), possibly to the design of Kent (illustrated in The Dictionary of English Furniture, by Percy Macquoid, revised by Ralph Edwards (London: Country Life, 1954), vol. III, p.159, fig. 1.The V&A has a pair of giltwood pedestals (W.47&A-1962) which are also variants of the scroll-footed design, with busts of boys. Several of these version are illustrated in Susan Weber ‘Kent and the Georgian Baroque Style in Furniture: Domestic Commissions’, in Susan Weber, ed., William Kent, Designing Georgian Britain (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, for the Bard Graduate Center, 2014), pp. 468-525, pedestal designs discussed pp. 511-513.



A drawing for a term pedestal similar to the version with high, scrolled feet and with scaly sides, but with a man’s head, by the architect and designer John Vardy (1718-1765) is in the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) Drawings Collection, now housed in the V&A and was illustrated by Peter Ward-Jackson in English Furniture Designs of the Eighteenth Century (London: HMSO, 1958), plate 41 and notes. That drawing is dated about 1745. Vardy was a junior colleague of William Kent at the Office of Works, which was responsible for royal and public buildings in Britain.



Historical context
Pedestals finished in imitation of stone would have been used in conservatories, orangeries, garden buildings or sometimes in halls.
Subjects depicted
Summary
This pedestal and its pair (W.5A-1946) are of terracotta or Coade stone (a form of patent ceramic), cast after a version of a pedestal design by the architect and designer William Kent (1685-1748), inspired by a design by the architect Inigo Jones (1573-1652) for a stone pedestal for garden use by the great collector of classical antiquities, Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel (1585-1646). The earliest version of Kent's design was carved by James Richards (1721-1767) for the Red Saloon at Houghton Hall, Norfolk. Several other versions of the design are known, designed for Hampton Court Palace and Chiswick House, Middlesex and a giltwood version of the design is in the V&A collections (W.47&A-1962). All versions show slight differences (women’s heads, wreaths of acanthus, or pendants of vines). This pair were probably made in the 19th century but the exact date is unknown. Pieces in painted terracotta or Coade stone would have been designed to stand in a conservatory, orangery, or other garden building, to support sculpture. The intention was that they would imitate carved stone.





Associated Objects
Collection
Accession Number
W.5-1946

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record createdMarch 18, 2015
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