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image SM, volume 110/44

Reference number

SM, volume 110/44


[8] Design for a chimney-piece with a vase at each end of the mantel shelf, a pair of doves in the centre, and an overmantel frame bordered by sprays of fruit, flowers and fronds


Elevation, with incomplete alternative scheme on right


Not indicated, but about 7/8 inch to 1 foot


In ink by George Dance at bottom right, Gd, and to right in C19 hand, (43)

Signed and dated

  • Undated, but datable 1689-94

Medium and dimensions

Pen and russet brown ink over graphite under-drawing, with pink, yellow, yellow-ochre and grey washes and additions in graphite, and with black ink redrawing of base line of design; on laid paper, laid down, with pinkish brown staining in top 35 mm of sheet and small early tear across a corroded area; 7 mm repair strip in wove paper at bottom of sheet, probably 1850; 438 x 225




Countermark: JJ


A straightforward design, conceived principally for the display of a painting in the overmantel. Within the frame Gibbons has sketched loosely in graphite the subject of the painting, a reclining female figure, possibly Venus, beneath a tree or bower. Another pencilled addition is his caryatid sketched on the right side of the fire surround where he has made the border of the chimney-piece as a whole wider than on the left. The surround to the frame has a bravura display of fruit, flowers, garlands and fronds. On the mantel shelf a gold vase on the left is linked by a swag of flowers to a whorl of acanthus leaves which entwines a pair of billing doves, all washed yellow. The yellow-washed frame along the edge of the chimney breast denotes the fixing for a damask wall covering as the backing for the limewood carving. The fire surround was probably meant to be in white marble.


Wren Society, IV, pl. 38, bottom



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

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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.

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