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William Kent, ca.1686–1748

Design for a Pavilion in a Deer Park

Former Title(s):

Deer Park

ca. 1735
Materials & Techniques:
Brown wash, graphite, and pen and brown ink on medium, slightly textured, cream laid paper
Sheet: 7 1/4 × 11 7/8 inches (18.4 × 30.2 cm)

Inscribed in pen and brown ink, upper center: "A house | to | fodder Deer Built of wood"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Drawing & Watercolors-Architectural
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
architectural subject | deer | field | landscape architecture | pavilions (garden structures)
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IIIF Manifest:

This is one of a pair of drawings for pavilions within a deer park (also see B1975.2.617). The perspective shows a theater-like clearing surrounded by groves of trees and overlooked by a pavilion in the style of a temple. As indicated by the inscription, the pavilion was to be built of wood and provide fodder for deer. The building has an open-air ground floor shielded by piers and with low-hanging eaves in a vaguely Tuscan manner. The first story is faced with a classicizing semicircular window and a shallow hipped roof. The glade's theatrical form was used often by William Kent in his landscape designs, probably modeled on Italian prototypes. It is likely that Kent made the drawing in the 1730s, upon his rise to fame as one of the leading landscape gardeners of Europe.

The drawing is characteristic of Kent, with a loose brown wash and pen technique and a playful inclusion of animals, here shown as deer leaping in the middle ground. Instead of serving as a design proposal, this drawing is probably one of Kent's fantasy schemes evoking an arcadian world.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2014

Susan Weber, William Kent, designing Georgian Britain , Yale University Press, 2013, pp. 408-09, fig. 15.29, NJ18.K364 W53 2013 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

John Wilmerding, Essays in honor of Paul Mellon, collector and benefactor, Essays , National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC & Hanover, NH, 1986, pp. 136, 140, fig. 4 (b/w), N7442.2 M455 1986 (YCBA) [YCBA]

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