113
113

REMOVED FROM A MAYFAIR TOWN HOUSE

A George III white marble and broccatello di spagna chimneypiece, circa 1770, probably designed by Robert Adam
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113

REMOVED FROM A MAYFAIR TOWN HOUSE

A George III white marble and broccatello di spagna chimneypiece, circa 1770, probably designed by Robert Adam
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

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A George III white marble and broccatello di spagna chimneypiece, circa 1770, probably designed by Robert Adam
the horizontal frieze with ribboned bell flower swags alternating with paterae, flanked by bell flower drop swag decorated jambs headed by oval paterae 
approximately 170cm. high, 208cm. wide, 20cm. deep; 5ft. 7in., 6ft. 10in., 8in.
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Literature

Arthur T Bolton, The Architecture of Robert and James Adam, Vol. II, pp. 18-47, Suffolk, 1922.

Related Literature
A T Bolton, ‘The Adelphi and the air board’, Country Life, 5 October 1918, pp. 289-292.

Catalogue Note

This chimneypiece closely relates to a number of designs by Robert Adam for the Adelphi , London. The drop swag motifs to the jambs and carved swag and rosette decoration to the frieze can be seen in different formats in various chimneypiece designs for this, perhaps his most famous commission. The present chimneypiece is almost identical in design to a drawing by Adam inscribed Drawing Room of No. 1 East Corner, on the [Royal] Terrace, Adelphi (Fig. 1).

The slight differences between the present chimneypiece and the design can be explained through the nature of the Adelphi project. The majority of the exterior and interior of the Adelphi were adapted from previous designs for other Adam commissions. For example one can see the use of paterae headed jambs on a chimneypiece at Nostell Priory, West Yorkshire (A Bolton, op. cit. p. 131), the coloured marble interior frieze is used in one at Chandos House, London (A Bolton, op. cit., p. 50) and the carved swag and husk frieze is employed in the mantel of a chimneypiece for Baron Orde’s town house on Queens Street, Edinburgh (A Bolton, op. cit., p. 209). It is therefore entirely likely that Adam adapted the present design to suit the interior of one of the many grand apartments on the Royal Terrace, from where this chimneypiece probably originated.

The Adelphi project was built between 1768-84 by Robert Adam and his three brothers – John, James and William. Built on a land leased from the disgraced Duke of St. Albans on the north side of the Thames - between the modern landmarks of Waterloo Bridge and Charing Cross Station - the project consisted of an array of grand townhouses, shop fronts, stables, taverns and wide thoroughfares. Employing over two thousand men the brothers set about to design and build the grandest contemporary development in London. The Royal Terrace at the centre of the project was by far in a way the grandest element of the Adelphi. Every technological advance possible was employed for the comfort of the new owners including running water on all three floors of each house. From inspection of a number of photographs taken before the demolition of the Adelphi in 1936 it appears that the formal rooms of each house were adorned with finely designed chimney places and typical Adam-esque grandeur. Over the course of the next one hundred and fifty years the Adelphi Terrace enjoyed many esteemed inhabitants including David Garrick, George Bernard Shaw, Thomas Hardy and Sir J M Barrie.  

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