Not currently on display at the V&A

A Design for a Silver Communion Flagon

Place Of Origin

A drawing of a silver communion flagon. Profile. Shown full size 285 x 130 mm.

object details
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Pencil, watercolour on laid paper, watermarked with a crowned shield with a horn above a LBG and a bell similar to W. A. Churchill, <u>Watermarks in Paper</u>, 2006,253 watermark for L. Van Gerrevink 1765.
Brief Description
A design for a silver communion flagon by John Yenn, after Sir William Chambers, c. 1775

Physical Description
A drawing of a silver communion flagon. Profile. Shown full size 285 x 130 mm.
  • Height: 366mm
  • Width: 226mm
Object history
A design for a silver communion flagon. The lower part of the body a calyx of acanthus leaves and a band of running scrolls across the upper part. Plain spout. This drawing is taken from a design by Sir William Chambers and may be a preparation for a finished office drawing. Yenn was during this period a pupil of Chambers. A flagon to this design was made for the Duke of Marlborough as a part of a communion set, was made by Ansill and Gilbert in 1769 to 1770 and marked by Parker and Wakelin and it survives at Blenheim Palace. The Flagon matches the drawing except for the addition of acanthus on the foot and acanthus strengthening underneath the spout. Chambers was working for the duke of Marlborough from 1767 until at least 1775. For a simplified drawing of this flagon shown at a smaller size see 3861.44. Bought together with 72 other drawings from Major H. Bateman via J. Starkie Gardner on the 29th November 1910, for £ 37-0-0.

Chambers was born in Sweden and died in London. He travelled widely, visiting China, and studied architecture at the Ecole des Arts, Paris, from 1749 and in Italy from 1750 to 1755. Many of his drawings from this period are contained in his important 'Franco-Italian' album, held in the V&A. Chambers moved to London in 1755 and published his influential Treatise on Civil Architecture in 1759. Chambers demonstrated the breadth of his style in buildings such as Gower (later Carrington) House and Melbourne House, London, in such country houses as Duddingston, Scotland, and in the garden architecture he designed for Wilton House, Wiltshire, and at Kew Gardens. He became head of government building in 1782, and in this capacity built Somerset House, London. Chambers also designed furniture and silver. The silver is usually linked to clients for whom he was also designing architectural schemes. The designs for silver are all in the hand of the architect John Yenn, who was a pupil of Chambers, for whom he became a leading draughtsman, working for him from 1764 until the late 1770s, when he began to practice on his own account.
Subjects depicted
Bibliographic References
  • ‘The silver designs of Sir William Chambers: a resumé and recent discoveries’, The Silver Society Journal, Vol. 7, 1995, pp. 335-341, fig 8. ‘Sir William Chambers and the Duke of Marlborough’s Silver’, Apollo, Vol. 125, No. 304, June 1987, pp. 396-400, fig 5. ‘Sir William Chambers and John Yenn; designs for silver’, Burlington Magazine, Vol. 128, No. 994, January 1986, pp. 31-35. ‘Silver, Ormolu and ceramics ‘ in John Harris and Michael Snodin (eds), Sir William Chambers , Architect to George III, 1996, pp. 149-162, fig 226. ‘Sir William Chambers; Catalogues of Architectural Drawings in the Victoria and Albert Museum’ Michael Snodin (ed), 1996, cat 604.
Accession Number

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record createdJune 30, 2009
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