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William Kent, ca.1686–1748

Stowe House, Buckinghamshire: Elevation and Section of Chimney Piece in the Hall

Former Title(s):

Design for a Chimneypiece

ca. 1733
Graphite, pen and black ink, and brown wash on medium, slightly textured, cream laid paper
Sheet: 11 1/2 × 8 1/4 inches (29.2 × 21 cm)

Inscribed in graphite, lower center: bar scale numbered "1" to "8"; inscribed on verso in pen and black ink, center: "For Lord Cobham | WK"; in graphite, lower left: "STOWE HOUSE"; in graphite, upper center: [...]

Watermark: (pasted down)

Signed on verso in center, in pen and black ink: "WK"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Drawings & Watercolors
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
architectural subject | chimney | chimney pieces | fireplaces | mantels | sculpture
Associated Places:
Buckingham | Buckinghamshire | England | Europe | Staffordshire | Stowe | Stowe house | United Kingdom
Associated People:
Accessible by appointment in the Study Room [Request]
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IIIF Manifest:

It is not known whether this design for a chimneypiece at Stowe was ever executed, though the bas-relief panel shown in this drawing—the family of Darius before Alexander sculpted by Christophe Veyrier in around 1680—is today attached to a wall in Stowe’s north hall. William Kent’s chimneypiece was probably designed to surround the existing panel in that room. The chimneypiece has the bold profile and high-relief decoration typical of the mid-eighteenth century, with scrolled brackets supporting a heavily molded pedimented mantel shelf. The bas-relief is framed by a panel and attenuated scroll moldings, and surmounted by a broken pediment supporting a sculpted helmet. The drawing has the characteristic marginalia seen in Kent's architectural drawings. It is unclear, however, whether these drawings were made at the same time as the chimneypiece design, or whether they were added to the sheet later as decoration. Both chimneypiece design and marginalia are in Kent's own hand, though the color of their washes vary, suggesting the drawings may have been executed at different times.

Madeleine Helmer, 2014

Susan Weber, William Kent, designing Georgian Britain , Yale University Press, 2013, pp. 206, 207, fig. 8.28, NJ18.K364 W53 2013 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

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