Late 18th c. Statuary Marble Chimneypiece

Late 18th c. Statuary Marble Chimneypiece

18th century United Kingdom

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Late 18th c. statuary marble chimneypiece with detached fluted columns terminating in ionic capitals beneath corner blockings carved with Anthemions. Bearing many hallmarks of the work of Robert Adam.
Robert Adam was one of the most famous British architects and designers of the 18h Century whose major commissions can be see at Harewood House, Kedleston Hall, Kenwood, Syone House and Osterley Park. After a study tour in Italy and Paris from 1754-58 he returned to London and established himself.

In 1761 he was appointed Architect of the King’s Works. He rapidly achieved early success with his designs for interiors which where in a light classical style which drew on his fresh studies of Roman domestic rather than public decoration and Raphael’s interpretations of it in the sixteenth century. Through this style he aimed to achieve harmony within the design of an interior by including within his scope all aspects of furnishings including the design of furniture, carpets, door surrounds, door furniture, lighting and of course the chimney piece in the room.

Robert Adam’s first publication was an illustrated treatise on The Ruins of the Palace of the Emperor Diolectian at Spalatro in Dalmatia, 1764. From 1773-78 with his brother James, he issued in sets Part I of Works in Architecture which publicised their own achievements. Part II was published in 1779 and Part III posthumously in 1822 by Priestly and Weale.
The plates were engraved by a number of artists including Pastorini, Zucchi, Vivares and Begbie. These designs do however only represent a fragment of the firm’s prodigious output.

The present chimney piece reflects the lightness and elegance of Robert Adam’s style. The central tablet with the classical carved detail and the carved columns are typical. The use of blue john as an inlay is also typical of Adam’s work and can also be seen at Kedleston and could possibly have been conceived to harmonise with the display of blue john objects in the room that it was intended for. The symbolism of the central tablet is astronomy and suggests that the original position of the chimney piece may well have been in the library of
the house.

For comparison, see a marble chimney piece of closely related form, designed by Robert Adam and probably supplied for Bowood House, Wiltshire, a major Adam commission, sold Chrisite’s New York, Important English Furniture, 23rd October 2002, lot 200, $220,000.
Height 1690.00 mm (66.54 inches)
Width 1230.00 mm (48.43 inches)
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194 - 200 Battersea Park Road
SW11 4ND

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