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You are here: CollectionsOnline  /  [6] Design for a chimney-piece with a trophy of arms in an overmantel niche, flanked by a tall obelisk, garlanded with ribbons, fruit and flowers, and held by two climbing putti; and with a WM monogram in the frieze
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image SM, volume 110/41

Reference number

SM, volume 110/41

Purpose

[6] Design for a chimney-piece with a trophy of arms in an overmantel niche, flanked by a tall obelisk, garlanded with ribbons, fruit and flowers, and held by two climbing putti; and with a WM monogram in the frieze

Aspect

Elevation, incomplete on right

Scale

Not indicated, but just under 1 inch to 1 foot

Inscribed

In ink by George Dance, at bottom right, Gd, and to right by a C19 hand, (40)

Signed and dated

Undated, but in period 1689-94

Medium and dimensions

Pen and russet brown ink, over graphite under drawing, with yellow ochre, pink-brown, lime-green and grey washes, and ruled graphite shading on face of obelisk; later black ink redrawing of baseline; on laid paper, laid down; with pinkish-brown staining and blotting in top 40 mm of sheet and some cracking of paper; 8 mm repair strip in wove paper at bottom of sheet, probably 1850; 451 x 245

Hand

Gibbons

Watermark

'Strasbourg bend' (shield with diagonal band in four parallel lines, surmounted by a fleur-de-lys), over 'AJ'

Notes

This is an extraordinarily ambitious proposal, requiring virtuoso carving for the figures, swags and trophy motif in the overmantel. Gibbons has drawn a full cornice above the chimney-piece bay, instead of the coved version found in most rooms in the king's apartments. The cornice profile is that used most often for the plainer Doric or Ionic orders, rather than the Corinthian or Composite (compare 6/2, no. 2, above; 110/59), and Gibbons has not decorated it with relief carving; nor has he chosen to apply relief ornament to the frieze (as on 6/2, nos. 1, 4; 110/58 and 60). He excludes this possibility by drawing a WM monograph in gilded intertwined leaves in the centre of the frieze. The emphasis is on plainness and severity, in keeping with the martial theme of the overmantel. This theme pervades every detail, from the garlanded obelisk (triumph and eternity) to the small George and the dragon motif on the frieze of the pilaster of the fire surround.

Literature

Wren Society, vol. IV, pl. 36, 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).