Design for a pier-glass for Sir Monoux Cope, 7th Baronet

Drawing
ca.1755-1760 (made)
Design for a pier-glass for Sir Monoux Cope, 7th Baronet thumbnail 1
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 design for a pier-glass demonstrates the flamboyant rococo arrangements that John Linnell was producing within his furniture designs during the middle of the 18th century. The rococo became popular ca.1730, characterised by asymmetry, curvaceous forms and natural ornamentation. The basket of flowers which Linnell has used also features within some of his other designs for pier-glasses and appears to be a popular Linnell motif. This pier-glass design was intended for Sir Monoux Cope, 7th Baronet, a pair of which were made for his home Bramshill House in Hampshire. While the design is different in parts to the pier-glasses, it demonstrates the popularity of Linnell’s rococo designs which wealthy patrons were ordering from the firm. The numerical annotations suggest that this design would have been used within the Linnell workshop, however he may also have shown this to his client.

Pier-glasses were a popular form of household furnishing during the 18th century. They were usually intended to be hung on the wall in between two windows (known as the pier wall). Often pier-glasses were made to match pier-tables which would be situated underneath them. An elaborate pier-glass such as this could have been used within the state rooms of a wealthy interior, such as the drawing room, where other items of furniture in the rococo style would be placed. Mirror glass was extremely expensive during the 18th century and even the wealthiest clients would often reuse existing mirror glass. It was very common to gild the frames of pier-glasses (where gold leaf would be applied onto the wood) to create an extravagant effect.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
pencil, pen and ink and wash
Brief Description
Design for a pier-glass for Sir Monoux Cope in pencil, 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 with a basket of flowers at the top of the frame. The flowers are spilling from the basket to form part of the frame itself. The frame is curvaceous in form and is made from festoons of flowers which decorate the mirror-glass. Natural ornamentation divides two large sections of mirror glass in the centre. Scrolling acanthus leaves are also entwined around the frame. 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: 23.9cm
  • Width: 14.2cm
Style
Marks and Inscriptions
'Plate 1 No.1'
Object history
John Linnell (1729-1796) was the son of the furniture maker William Linnell (ca. 1703-1763) and gained his design education from the St Martin’s Lane Academy, a drawing school for craftspeople. The influence that the St. Martin’s Lane Academy had upon Linnell’s designs are evident through his adoption of rococo forms and motifs, largely inspired by the stylistic precedents emerging from France during this period which were taught at the Academy. Following his design education he joined his father’s firm as a designer. During his lifetime John Linnell designed high quality furniture, which rivalled that of other leading furniture makers such as Thomas Chippendale, John Cobb and William Ince and John Mayhew. He also incorporated the fashionable neoclassical style within his designs which became popular in the latter half of the 18th century.



Selections from his portfolios were made, after his death, by C.H. Tatham, and arranged in scrapbooks, possibly with the intention of publishing them. Two of the volumes were acquired by the Museum in 1911. (See E. 3466-3739-1911, no longer in volumes, but mounted separately.) The album had previously belonged to Tatham's daughter Julia, the wife of George Richmond. (Ward-Jackson, P. English Furniture Designs of the Eighteenth Century, V&A; London (1958) p54-55).



This design is 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.'
Subjects depicted
Association
Summary
This design for a pier-glass demonstrates the flamboyant rococo arrangements that John Linnell was producing within his furniture designs during the middle of the 18th century. The rococo became popular ca.1730, characterised by asymmetry, curvaceous forms and natural ornamentation. The basket of flowers which Linnell has used also features within some of his other designs for pier-glasses and appears to be a popular Linnell motif. This pier-glass design was intended for Sir Monoux Cope, 7th Baronet, a pair of which were made for his home Bramshill House in Hampshire. While the design is different in parts to the pier-glasses, it demonstrates the popularity of Linnell’s rococo designs which wealthy patrons were ordering from the firm. The numerical annotations suggest that this design would have been used within the Linnell workshop, however he may also have shown this to his client.



Pier-glasses were a popular form of household furnishing during the 18th century. They were usually intended to be hung on the wall in between two windows (known as the pier wall). Often pier-glasses were made to match pier-tables which would be situated underneath them. An elaborate pier-glass such as this could have been used within the state rooms of a wealthy interior, such as the drawing room, where other items of furniture in the rococo style would be placed. Mirror glass was extremely expensive during the 18th century and even the wealthiest clients would often reuse existing mirror glass. It was very common to gild the frames of pier-glasses (where gold leaf would be applied onto the wood) to create an extravagant effect.

Associated Object
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) p.77
Collection
Accession Number
E.177-1929

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record createdJune 30, 2009
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