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 request in the Study Room [Request]
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George Richardson, ca.1738–ca.1813, British, Design for a Chimney Piece, 1773
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
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