7005

A FINE STATUARY AND CONVENT SIENA MARBLE NEOCLASSICAL CHIMNEYPIECE IN THE MANNER OF ROBERT ADAM

English. Circa 1770.

Measurements

Overall Height: 59 1/2"; Overall Width: 80 3/4"; Overall Depth: 14".
Height of Aperture: 44 1/4"; Width of Aperture: 49 1/2".

Research

Of statuary and siena marble. The projecting molded shelf above a frieze with inlaid flutes of siena marble and centered by a panel carved in relief with an urn flanked by berried vines and scrolling foliate tendrils, the frieze flanked by two plinth blocks carved in relief with fluted urns, the aperture edged with a rope-twist molding and flanked by two tapering columns, each column surmounted by a foliate capital, the shaft inlaid with fluting of siena marble. 

Provenance:
Bentley Angliss, who acquired it from a distinguished Madrid collection. 

The present chimneypiece is much in the manner of the celebrated architect and designer Robert Adam (1728-92), the most influential leader of taste of his day. The form of the chimneypiece is familiar from many of Adam’s most famous interiors whilst the carved details draw heavily on Adam’s decorative vocabulary.

A chimneypiece of markedly similar form to the present example can be found in the dressing room at Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire, the house completed and decorated by Adam for Lord Scarsdale in 1760-70 (figure 1).1 In both chimneypieces the apertures are flanked by freestanding columns, which project forward of the backs, with inlaid flutes. The entablatures above the columns are decorated with stylized urns with finely worked moldings, whilst the frieze in both pieces is centered by a carved decorative panel. Above the frieze the piece is surmounted by a shelf reminiscent of that seen in the present example.

The general form seen at Kedleston was used repeatedly by Adam. The chimneypiece from the drawing room at Lansdowne House, Berkeley Square, designed by Adam for the 1st Marquess of Lansdowne in 1762, was another example of this type.2

The capitals of the present chimneypiece are notable for their curious composition. Repeating crimped stiff leaves form the necking of the capital below scrolling volutes centered by a stylized leaf motif. The confident ingenuity of the design is increased by the gadroon molding that frames the aperture, a Renaissance motif, reinterpreted in a neoclassical setting.

Full research report available on request.

Full research report available on request.