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You are here: CollectionsOnline  /  [4] Design for a chimney-piece with a tall, arched overmantel panel containing a sketch of a standing figure, bordered by a drapery swag, and with a vase and a crowned St George medallion on the mantel shelf
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image SM, volume 110/39

Reference number

SM, volume 110/39

Purpose

[4] Design for a chimney-piece with a tall, arched overmantel panel containing a sketch of a standing figure, bordered by a drapery swag, and with a vase and a crowned St George medallion on the mantel shelf

Aspect

Elevation, mostly unfinished on right side

Scale

Not indicated, but about 1 inch to 1 foot

Inscribed

In ink by Dance at bottom right, Gd, and by C19 hand, to right, (39)

Signed and dated

Undated, but datable 1689-94

Medium and dimensions

Pen and russet-brown ink with green, grey-green,light blue and yellow washes, over graphite under drawing, with additions in graphite, and with later re-drawing of baseline and verticals of plinths in black ink; on laid paper, with pinkish brown blotching and staining in top 45mm of sheet, and with 6mm repair strip in wove paper at bottom, probably 1850; 459 x 225

Hand

Gibbons

Watermark

'Strasbourg Bend' / AJ (i.e., crest with diagonal bar of four parallel lines, surmounted by fleur-de-lys)

Notes

The fire surround of this design would have been marble, and the vase on the mantelshelf (touched with light blue wash) real glass or ceramic. However, the other relief decoration of the overmantel would almost certainly have been in limewood. The fronds, drapery and drop of fruit and flowers are connected as a single motif and are uncoloured, as was usual for Gibbons's limewood. The result would have been a relatively subdued colour scheme of white marble, near white limewood and a pale green wall covering on the overmantel.Like other drawings in this group, the design includes the main room cornice, drawn here without hesitation as a large cove beneath a corona and cyma moulding, like the executed cornices in several of the smaller rooms in the king's and queen's apartments. Fire surround and overmantel are now brought together as a single feature of the room interior: a complete chimney-piece bay, reaching from floor to ceiling. The fire surround and its mantel shelf are steps in the progression upwards rather than self-contained units, to which an overmantel is added.In technique this drawing, like others in the group, shows complete mastery of light and dark, through cast shadow and relief shading.

Literature

Wren Society, vol. IV, pl. 31, top

Level

Drawing

Digitisation of the Drawings Collection has been made possible through the generosity of the Leon Levy Foundation

If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: drawings@soane.org.uk

Sir John Soane's collection includes some 30,000 architectural, design and topographical drawings which is a very important resource for scholars worldwide. His was the first architect’s collection to attempt to preserve the best in design for the architectural profession in the future, and it did so by assembling as exemplars surviving drawings by great Renaissance masters and by the leading architects in Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries and his near contemporaries such as Sir William Chambers, Robert Adam and George Dance the Younger. These drawings sit side by side with 9,000 drawings in Soane’s own hand or those of the pupils in his office, covering his early work as a student, his time in Italy and the drawings produced in the course of his architectural practice from 1780 until the 1830s.

Browse (via the vertical menu to the left) and search results for Drawings include a mixture of Concise catalogue records – drawn from an outline list of the collection – and fuller records where drawings have been catalogued in more detail (an ongoing process).