<< YCBA Home Yale Center for British Art Yale Center for British Art << YCBA Home

YCBA Collections Search

IIIF Actions
George Richardson, ca.1738–ca.1813

Design for a Chimney Piece

Additional Title(s):

Design for a Chimneypiece

Pen and black ink and black wash on medium, moderately textured, cream laid paper
Sheet: 10 1/2 x 14 3/8 inches (26.7 x 36.5 cm)

Signed and dated in pen and brown ink, lower left: "Georges Richardson Invt. 1773."

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Drawing & Watercolors-Architectural
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
acanthus | anthemions | architectural subject | chimney (architectural element) | chimneypieces | designs | festoons | paterae (motifs) | scrolling foliage
Accessible by appointment in the Study Room [Request]
Note: The Study Room is open by appointment. Please visit the Study Room page on our website for more details.

Trained as a draftsman in the studio of Robert Adam and his brother James, George Richardson even accompanied Adam on his Grand Tour of Italy from 1760 to 1763. In addition he shared the interest of the Adam brothers in interior decoration and an integral part of the architectural whole. When he left the Adams in 1765, he was already established as a ceiling painter, and her would later publish A Book of Ceilings Composed in the Stile of the Antique Grotesques.

Throughout his career Richardson displayed an interest in the "antique grotesque," a form of design adapted from both Renaissance sources such as Raphael and from the recent discovery of wall decorations in Pompeii, unearthed in 1748. These influences are evident in this design for a chimney piece with its delicate scroll work and dancing maidens adapted from classical wall paintings. Perhaps motivated by Giovanni Battista Piranesi's 1769 folio Diverse maniere d'adronare I cammoni, featuring designs for fireplace influence by classical and ancient Egyptian architecture, Richardson published his New Collection of Chimney Pieces Ornaments in the Style of Etruscan, Greek, and roman Architecture in 1781, Unlike Piranesi, however, he showed his chimney pieces in the traditional manner, without roaring fires.

Morna O'Neill

Wilcox, Forrester, O'Neil, Sloan. The Line of Beauty: British Drawings and Watercolors of the Eighteenth Century. Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2001, pg. 144 cat. no. 122

The Line of Beauty : British Drawings and Watercolors of the Eighteenth Century (Yale Center for British Art, 2001-05-19 - 2001-08-05) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

British Architectural Drawings (Yale Center for British Art) (Yale Center for British Art, 1982-04-21 - 1982-05-30) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Scott Wilcox, Line of beauty : British drawings and watercolors of the eighteenth century, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2001, p. 144, no. 122, NC228 W53 2001 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Eric R. Wolterstorff, British architectural drawings, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Conn., 1982, p. 21, no. 29, V 0251 (YCBA) [YCBA]

If you have information about this object that may be of assistance please contact us.