A Design for a Silver Soup Tureen thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

A Design for a Silver Soup Tureen

Place Of Origin

A drawing of a silver soup tureen. Profile. Shown full size 269 x 374.

object details
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Pencil, pen and ink and grey wash on a blue washed ground on laid paper. The sheet is watermarked HIS Ivilledary , (E. Heawood, <u>Watermarks mainly of the 17th and 18th Century</u>, 1950, N.2971) used on a document in London 1766.
Brief Description
A design for a silver soup tureen by John Yenn, after Sir William Chambers, c. 1769

Physical Description
A drawing of a silver soup tureen. Profile. Shown full size 269 x 374.
  • Height: 274mm
  • Width: 382mm
Gallery Label
John Yenn (1750-1821) after Sir William Chambers (1723-1796) Design for a tureen British, about 1767 Pen and ink and watercolour In addition to being an accomplished architect and the chief assistant to Sir William Chambers, Yenn was a gifted designer of silver in the neoclassical style. A tureen almost identical to this design was made for the Duke of Marlborough by the silversmiths Sebastian and James Crespel under the aegis of John Parker and Edward Wakelin and is now in Leeds City Art Galleries. This design incorporates a number of typical neoclassical motifs including handles made from palm leves twisted back, and the decorative key pattern which was replaced by a' Vitruvian scrole' E. 4992-1910
Object history
The body of bombé form. The base has a gadrooned foot and a band of reed and ribbon moulding. On the body a band of Greek key pattern, on the lid a flower. The handles formed as stylized vegetables stalks. On the back of the sheet one of the handles has been traced through in pencil. This is a design for a soup tureen for a service made for the 4th Duke of Marlborough in 1768- 1769 retailed by Parker and Wakelin. Two oval and two round tureens were made by Sebastian and James Crespel in 1769, of which one example is in Leeds City Art Gallery. A later version is at Blenheim Palace. The tureens as made replaced the Greek key with a Vitruvian scroll. This appears to be a presentation drawing. 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
  • ‘Sir William Chambers and the Duke of Marlborough’s Silver’, Apollo, Vol. 125, No. 304, June 1987, pp. 396-400, fig 2. ‘The silver designs of Sir William Chambers: a resumé and recent discoveries’, The Silver Society Journal, Vol. 7, 1995, pp. 335-341, fig 5. ‘Sir William Chambers and John Yenn; designs for silver’, Burlington Magazine, Vol. 128, No. 994, January 1986, pp. 31-35, fig 32. ‘Silver, Ormolu and ceramics ‘ in John Harris and Michael Snodin (eds), Sir William Chambers , Architect to George III, 1996, pp. 149-162, fig 220. ‘Sir William Chambers; Catalogues of Architectural Drawings in the Victoria and Albert Museum’ Michael Snodin (ed), 1996, cat 606.
Accession Number

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record createdJune 30, 2009
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