Design for a pier-glass from; A Miscellaneous Collection of Original Designs, made, and for the most part executed, during an extensive Practice of many years in the first line of his Profession, by John Linnell, Upholsterer Carver & Cabinet Maker. Selected from his Portfolios at his Decease, by C. H. Tatham Architect. AD 1800.

Drawing
ca.1755-1760 (made)
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This workshop design for a pier-glass demonstrates John Linnell’s use of rococo forms to compose his designs. The rococo style became extremely popular in Britain from around 1730 and is characterised by curvaceous naturalistic forms, asymmetry and, as within this design, rocaille (frilly and often water-like decorative carving). The basket of flowers which surmounts the frame was a common feature used by Linnell within many of his designs. This motif can be seen on a pair of mirrors attributed to the Linnell firm which were at Bramshill House, Hampshire, probably made for Sir Monoux Cope ca.1760.

Pier-glasses were a popular form of 18th century furnishing and were commonly placed on the wall in between two windows (known as the pier wall). Extremely elaborate pier glasses, such as the ones designed by John Linnell, were often used to emphasise the grandeur of a wealthy household. They were also important sources of light during the 18th century and they would reflect the light from candles back into the room. Pier-glasses of this design could have been used within state rooms such as drawing rooms (where other rococo-inspired furniture would be placed) as well as the more private rooms of the household.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
pencil, pen and ink and wash
Brief Description
Design for a pier-glass in pen and ink and wash, from a volume of designs for furniture, interior decoration and architectural fittings, by John Linnell, Great Britain, ca.1755-1760
Physical Description
A design for a pier-glass in pen and ink and wash. The top of the frame has a pagoda-inspired shape with ornamental detail. A basket of flowers surmounts the frame. The mirror glass is framed in sections by other decorative frames which are formed from curvilinear shapes and rocaille details. The bottom of the frame is curved in shape and also features rocaille ornamental forms, similar in shape to shells. One of a set of designs for furniture, including chairs and state beds, interior decoration, including pier glasses, and architectural fittings including chimney pieces and doors. In a volume.
Dimensions
  • Height: 17.6cm
  • Width: 10.5cm
Style
Subjects depicted
Summary
This workshop design for a pier-glass demonstrates John Linnell’s use of rococo forms to compose his designs. The rococo style became extremely popular in Britain from around 1730 and is characterised by curvaceous naturalistic forms, asymmetry and, as within this design, rocaille (frilly and often water-like decorative carving). The basket of flowers which surmounts the frame was a common feature used by Linnell within many of his designs. This motif can be seen on a pair of mirrors attributed to the Linnell firm which were at Bramshill House, Hampshire, probably made for Sir Monoux Cope ca.1760.



Pier-glasses were a popular form of 18th century furnishing and were commonly placed on the wall in between two windows (known as the pier wall). Extremely elaborate pier glasses, such as the ones designed by John Linnell, were often used to emphasise the grandeur of a wealthy household. They were also important sources of light during the 18th century and they would reflect the light from candles back into the room. Pier-glasses of this design could have been used within state rooms such as drawing rooms (where other rococo-inspired furniture would be placed) as well as the more private rooms of the household.

Associated Object
E.177-1929 (Design)
Bibliographic References
  • Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1929, London: Board of Education, 1930.
  • Hayward, H. and Kirkham, P. William and John Linnell Eighteenth Century London Furniture Makers, London; Studio Vista, Christie’s (1980)
Collection
Accession Number
E.205-1929

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record createdJune 30, 2009
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