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You are here: CollectionsOnline  /  [2] Design for a chimney-piece with a large martial relief of putti and arms in the overmantel, a central pedestal frieze with a relief of a Roman battle scene, and a fire surround carved with caryatids, herm figures, drapery and trumpets.
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image SM, volume 110/26

Reference number

SM, volume 110/26

Purpose

[2] Design for a chimney-piece with a large martial relief of putti and arms in the overmantel, a central pedestal frieze with a relief of a Roman battle scene, and a fire surround carved with caryatids, herm figures, drapery and trumpets.

Aspect

Elevation, partly unfinished on right

Scale

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

Inscribed

in ink by George Dance at top left, Gd, and to right by C19 hand, (26)

Signed and dated

Undated, but datable 1689-94

Medium and dimensions

Pen and brown ink over graphite under-drawing, with pink-brown, yellow ochre and grey washes Laid paper, originally laid down, but now attached to backing paper on hinges. Pinkish brown staining in top 25 mm of sheet; earlty diagonal repair, 20 x 35 mm, in top right-hand corner 400 x 255

Hand

Gibbons

Watermark

No visible watermark or countermark

Notes

Early trimming of the sheet to remove damp-stained paper reduced the sheet to below the top of the room cornice. A location in one of the principal rooms is suggested by the martial and monumental character of the design. The fire opening would have been at least 5 feet wide and the chimney breast at least 8 feet. The entire carved fire surround and heavy relief panel framed by pedestals would have been in marble; the martial trophy, putti and vases would have been in plain limewood. Gibbons or Cibber – both engaged at Hampton Court in the carving of pediment reliefs in 1694 – could have undertaken this work, but the cost in materials and workmanship would have run to several hundred pounds. The overmantel relief depicts a classical battle scene, with a circular temple and funerary obelisk in the background. The Roman martial trophies in the overmantel display bear the images of modern Stuart Britain: the royal arms on the central shield, St George on the disc between the putti, and the Garter star on a shield behind the left putto. The martial theme is reinforced by the use of caryatids and herm figures in the fire surround. Bearing up the massive pedestal, they are suggestive of captives from the battle depicted in the relief panel.Drawings 110/42 and 110/46 may be preparatory for this design, or derived from it (6/3/4 and 5).

Literature

Thurley, Hampton Court, 2003, pp. 178-79, fig. 163; Wren Society, IV, pl. 27, top

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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