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You are here: CollectionsOnline  /  [1] Incomplete preliminary design for a chimney-piece with alternative console panels supporting the mantel shelf, and a sketched overmantel display of a trophy and arms within a draped curtain canopy
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image SM, volume 110/48

Reference number

SM, volume 110/48

Purpose

[1] Incomplete preliminary design for a chimney-piece with alternative console panels supporting the mantel shelf, and a sketched overmantel display of a trophy and arms within a draped curtain canopy

Aspect

Elevation, with alternatives, left and right

Scale

About 7/8 in. to 1 foot

Inscribed

In ink by George Dance, bottom right, Gd, and to right in a C19 hand, 47.

Signed and dated

Undated, but probably dating 1689-94

Medium and dimensions

Pen and brown ink over graphite under-drawing, with green-brown wash and sketched additions in graphite; on laid paper, laid down, with small brown stain at top right-hand edge; 384 x 237

Hand

Gibbons

Watermark

Countermark: CDG

Notes

This drawing is the least complete of these five sketch designs but shares their vocabulary and drawing techniques. Gibbons's sketch technique is exemplified here in the loose handling of the foliage in the two console-like reliefs left and right of the mid-height panel.Gibbons adopts the formula used in 2 and 3 (110/51 and 33): a mid-height panel above the fire surround in two loosely drawn but clearly expressed alternatives, and above this a taller overmantel with a sculptural display. However he also sketched a higher mantel shelf cornice, suggesting the alternative formula found in 4 and 5 (110/42 and 46): a high mid-height panel and high mantel shelf cornice, with a relatively low overmantel area for an upper sculptural display. The mantel shelf cornice itself is identical to those on the other five drawings and is a version of the coved cornice used as a crowning feature on many of Gibbons's chimney-piece designs.The loosely drawn overmantel composition has a knotted drapery panel like that in 110/52 (6/5, no. 13), and within this the outlines of an armorial display, comprising a cartouche motif in a radiating group of arms with a helmet. at the top and a concave-sided base below. The arrangement is especially close to the overmantel trophy in 110/38 (6/1, no. 5), and the sketch could either be derived from this proposal or (conceivably) be preparatory for it. If so, then this entire group of sketch designs are amongst the earliest of Gibbons's chimney-piece designs in the Hampton Court Album.

Literature

Wren Society, IV, pl. 39, bottom

Level

Drawing

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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