Door Handle

1776-1780 (designed), ca. 1785 (made)
Door Handle thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 118; The Wolfson Gallery
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
This handle and escutcheon came originally from a door in Somerset House, London.

People
Sir William Chambers (1723-1796) taught architectural drawing to George III, when Prince of Wales. He became royal architect, Comptroller of His Majesty's Works, and later was made Surveyor-General. He was largely responsible for introducing the Chinoiserie style of decoration into England.

Materials & Design
The handle and escutcheon are made of cast brass, which has been chased and gilt. A coat of lacquer was then applied to improve its golden colour. Door furniture was considered to be an important element in the decoration of a room in the 18th century. Robert and James Adam illustrate what are described as 'Designs of Furniture for the locks of doors' in their Works in Architecture, and the owner of the Soho Manufactory in Birmingham, Matthew Boulton, is known to have supplied gilt-brass door furniture based on Adam designs. This handle and escutcheon were removed from Somerset House when the house was being altered in the mid-19th century.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 3 parts.

  • Spindle
  • Handle
  • Escutcheon
Materials and Techniques
Lacquered brass, cast and chased
Brief Description
Gilt brass, designed by William Chambers for Somerset House, London. England, c. 1776-80.
Gallery Label
British Galleries: This handle carries a portrait of George III based on a contemporary medal. It comes from Somerset House, London, a huge building begun in 1776 to house civil servants and learned institutions. Somerset House was the greatest architectural achievement of Sir William Chambers, who designed every detail, including fixtures and fittings. The handle carries a portrait of George III based on a contemporary medal.(27/03/2003)
Object history
Designed by William Chambers (born in Goteborg, Sweden, 1726, died in London, 1796)

Made in London
Summary
Object Type
This handle and escutcheon came originally from a door in Somerset House, London.

People
Sir William Chambers (1723-1796) taught architectural drawing to George III, when Prince of Wales. He became royal architect, Comptroller of His Majesty's Works, and later was made Surveyor-General. He was largely responsible for introducing the Chinoiserie style of decoration into England.

Materials & Design
The handle and escutcheon are made of cast brass, which has been chased and gilt. A coat of lacquer was then applied to improve its golden colour. Door furniture was considered to be an important element in the decoration of a room in the 18th century. Robert and James Adam illustrate what are described as 'Designs of Furniture for the locks of doors' in their Works in Architecture, and the owner of the Soho Manufactory in Birmingham, Matthew Boulton, is known to have supplied gilt-brass door furniture based on Adam designs. This handle and escutcheon were removed from Somerset House when the house was being altered in the mid-19th century.
Collection
Accession Number
4013-1855

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record createdMarch 27, 2003
Record URL