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Sir William Chambers RA, 1723–1796

The Hoo, Kimpton, Hertfordshire: Elevations and Details of a Gateway

Former Title(s):

Elevations with Details of Mouldings and Entablatures for Gateways at the Hoo, Kimpton, Hertfordshire

ca. 1760-1764
Graphite, pen and brown ink, and watercolor on moderately thick, moderately textured, cream laid paper
Sheet: 12 x 19 1/4 inches (30.5 x 48.9 cm)

Inscribed lower left in pen and brown ink: "The Wall is 14 [inches] thick the Rusticks project 2 1/2 [inches] | before the Wall & the pilasters project [cancelled] 1/4 of | their width w.n 5 inches"; in graphite, upper center: "1 5/8", "3 1/8", "5 7/8", "7 in"; in graphite, lower center, bar scale labeled: "1" to "10 ft"

Watermark: IV

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 | doorway | gateways | molding | Neoclassical | rustication
Associated Places:
England | Hertfordshire | Kimpton | United Kingdom
Accessible by appointment in the Study Room [Request]
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IIIF Manifest:

Sir William chambers was the foremost architect of his generation and architectural advisor to King George III. A founding member of the Royal Academy, he was placed in charge of all government buildings in his capacity as Surveyor General of the Board Works (1782). In contrast to the baroque training and interests of Vanbrugh (cat. 110) and Gibbs (cat. 111), Chambers and the neoclassical architects of his generation looked to ancient Roman architecture and archaeological findings for inspiration. In 1759 Chambers published his Treatise on Civil Architecture, a volume devoted to "sound precepts and good designs" that considered for the most part, the decorative aspects of architecture such as doors and gateways. One of these "good designs" was a doorway by the Italian architect Palladio. In a practice common at the time, Chambers showed his skill and knowledge of classical forms by adapting Palladio's design in his own work, these gateways for Thomas Brand at his country home The Hoo. This drawing gives the viewer some indication of Chambers's working process, as he has noted the thickness of the wall and the projection of the architectural elements, while more technical drawings to the left of each gateway explain the proportions and construction methods. Placed side by side , these two gateways illustrate the diversity of his practice. While the rusticated stone and the large central keystone that breaks through the entablature in the gateway on the left indicate vestigial traces of the baroque, the sleek lines of the gateway on the right announce neoclassical elegance.

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. 138 cat. no. 116

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]

John Harris, Sir William Chambers : Knight of the polar star, Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park, PA, 1970, pp. 210-11, NJ18 .C37 H37 1970 + Oversize (YCBA) [YCBA]

Scott Wilcox, Line of beauty : British drawings and watercolors of the eighteenth century, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2001, p. 138, no. 116, NC228 W53 2001 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Eric R. Wolterstorff, British architectural drawings, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Conn., 1982, p. 9, no. 8, V 0251 (YCBA) [YCBA]

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