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During the early 1770s Adam modernised Ashburnham House for the 2nd earl Ashburnham. The house stood just back from Dover Street, behind a screen Adam designed. Internally Adam designed extensive redecorations, including no less than three drawing rooms. This overmantel frame was intended for the second of those.
The winged griffins catch the eye in this design but it is the exquisite detail that makes it superb – intricate anthemion border, ram's heads on the pedestal to the urn, the dainty elegance with which the griffins pull back the trailing husks.
(Please see the March 2014 edition of 'World of Interiors' magazine for an article by Sopie Barling about Robert Adam and our collaboration with the Sir John Soane's Museum.)