the breakfront mantelpiece with leaf carved decoration above a frieze centred by a concave rosette set between garlands supported by scrolled volute jambs further hung with garlands of foliage and deeply carved egg and dart border
The design of this chimneypiece demonstrates William Kent's meticulous study of the drawings of Inigo Jones that were in the posession of his mentor Lord Burlington. Several of Inigo Jones' drawings for chimneypieces reproduced by John Vardy in Some Designs of Mr Inigo Jones and Mr Wm Kent, 1744, show remarkably similar attributes. The frieze to that on p.16 has virtually identically designed fruited garlands around a central cartouche, and similarly tied with ribbons to either end of each garland. The flared jambs on the current chimneypiece, again swagged with bountiful garlands are supported by similarly shaped volutes although in the case of the Jones drawing capped by boys masks (op. cit. p.13). The ribbon-tied swags appear again in Kent's first design, circa 1727 for a chimneypiece and overmantle, executed by James Richards for the King's Drawing Room at Kensington Palace, where the chimney remains, the drawing is reproduced in John Cornforth, Early Georgian Interiors, Yale, 2004, fig.178, p.146. Further similar ribbon-tied fruited swags appear on a chimneypiece in The West Drawing Room at Holkham Hall, Norfolk (see John Cornforth, op.cit., fig.447, p.319).
The floral and fruit filled garlands featured on the offered lot relate to the plaster ceiling that was installed in the same room, this link suggests that Kent produced an overall decorative scheme for a room that was largely untouched during alterations carried out at the end of the 18th century and during the 1840s. The Green Drawing Room was under Kent's original plan the Dining Room at Devonshire House. As such the bountiful fruit-garlands on this chimneypiece and the corresponding decoration of the ceiling would have been appropriate for a room of such use, fruit being the attribute of Ceres, goddess of agriculture and also relating to abundance.
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