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Fig. 47 is one of two designs made for the " Great Room " at Bowood in 1763, the sketches differing only in unimportant details, although each is carefully finished. In this drawing we have the Adam style fully developed, many of the details being familiar to students of the exteriors and interiors of the Adelphi buildings. A strong magnifying-glass is necessary to note the careful draughtsmanship of this sketch, especially in the decoration of the shelf-mouldings and those around the opening. Even the flutes of the columns are each shaded with the ruling-pen and graduated according to the taper of the shaft and the perspective. Fig. 48 is undated, but was made two years after the preceding sketch, of which it is a more simple variation. Only those who have had experience in the drawing and proportioning of the " Five Orders " can thoroughly appreciate the care taken in the measuring of these sketches. Nothing is apparently left to the eye to decide. The diameter of the column shaft bears the exact relation to its length as set forth by the authorities whom Adam followed. There is much that is weak in this design, such as the scanty opening moulding without reinforcing slips (some indication that the chimney-piece was

designed for execution in marble), but nothing that is inaccurate. This sketch was probably intended for Richmond House in Whitehall rather than for Goodwood, but it does not appear to have ever been made. It was evidently designed for an important apartment, being 5 feet 8 inches in height to the top of the shelf, and with an opening 4 feet 5 inches wide by 4 feet high.

Fig. 49 is an unexecuted design for one of the saloons at Nostell Priory. Sir Rowland Winn appears to have been one of the earliest, and probably the best, of Robert Adam's fashionable clients. Although the new house had only been built some

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thirty-five years before Adam commenced his work at Nostell, he prepared an elaborate set of drawings for the remodelling of the east or principal front, a procedure which must have been in the nature of a speculation on the part of Adam, as the exterior was not touched, and Sir Rowland Winn would hardly have commissioned the work at this early date. The Nostell design is quite characteristic of Adam's best manner, when he departed from the classical traditions which had formerly fettered much of his work, without any loss of the true classical spirit. The shelf-moulding dotted with the eight lion-heads, and the carrying of the frieze ornament beyond the line of the opening moulding into the squares of the columns, are the only two doubtful features of the whole design.

In practice, chimney-pieces of the type of Fig. 49 were usually executed in white and coloured marbles, often with a very rich and effective appearance. Fig. 50 is an elaborate example of about this period, in second statuary and Connemara green marbles. A comparison of this photograph—as representing an actual piece—with the designs of Adam will show how much modification must have been necessary according to the materials employed. This detail does not appear to have ever troubled

" Chimne\ Piece for the yd Drawing room at Ashburnham House." 1773.

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" Chimne\ Piece for the yd Drawing room at Ashburnham House." 1773.

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Robert Adam in the slightest degree. Some of his designs were made in wood and composition, others in marble and even stone, but there is nothing to distinguish the one class from the other. Fig. 50 is immediately recognisable as a marble piece, even if it were accurately drawn without any attempt at shading or colouring. The members of the shelf, and especially the detail of the opening surround, are characteristically marble details, whereas the same cannot be said for the Nostell sketch, which is possible only in wood, in the way in which it is designed.

Fig. 51 is a design made for Ashburnham House in 1773, and in spite of the treatment of the jambs is evidently intended for marble. Several variations of this pattern were drawn, although none appear to have been made. Fig. 52 is given to show a marble-mason's conception of this design. The flutes are inlaid with Siena,

CHIMNEY-PIECE OF WHITE AN1) COLOURED MARBLF.

6 ft. 1 in. length of shelf. 4 ft. 9 ins. total height. Date about 1775.

CHIMNEY-PIECE OF WHITE AN1) COLOURED MARBLF.

6 ft. 1 in. length of shelf. 4 ft. 9 ins. total height. Date about 1775.

the plaques of selected Carrara marbles. The jambs are jointed in the only practicable way with marble, a method either unknown to, or ignored by, Robert Adam.

Fig. 53 is in Adam's earlier manner, the sketch dating from 1768. With the exception of the central tablet, the details are precisely those used on the exterior of the Adelphi Terrace, in the pilasters and the string course. The tablet breaking over the frieze moulding and the members under the top are typical Adam marble details, although the decorated opening moulding suggests wood and carving, or more probably composition. Fig. 54 is some three years later in date, and is indicated as the second design for the first drawing-room at Harewood for Mr. Lascelles. The general scheme is unusually elaborate even for this date, and the carving details are drawn with great care. The name " Nolekens " is scribbled above the sketch, a reference, evidently, to Joseph Nollekens, R.A., a celebrated sculptor of this period, who was possibly responsible for the execution of the five circular plaques in the frieze. The date of this sketch coincides with the election of Nollekens to the Academy as Associate, and in the following year he received the higher status. Nollekens is notable rather for his industry than his genius ; and being of penurious habits, and with the habit of choosing such only work as was directly remunerative, he amassed a con-

siderable fortune. He paid the usual penalty of wealth in having a number of parasites, the most notable of whom, J. F. Smith, revenged himself, in Nollekens and his Times, for a legacy of only £iOO out of a fortune of £200,000, by enlarging upon the rapacity and avarice of his patron. Nollekens died in 1823, at the age of eighty-six.

Robert Adam appears to have not only tolerated, but even encouraged, the use of substitutes, such'as stucco for sculpture, composition for carving, and similar imitations. Perhaps his habit of designing without any distinct ideas as to processes and materials was responsible for this, in a large measure. Chippendale, with all his extravagancies, was, on the whole, a practical craftsman, and, excepting for sundry yieldings to temptations to puzzle and confound his fellow cabinetmakers, he undoubtedly did much to raise the level of his trade. Robert Adam intruded into a craft of which he knew very little, and obliged the joiner to radically modify his notions of construction, and even of materials, to resolve his creations into being. It is another

" Chimnev riece for the ist Drawing loom at Ilarewood, 2nd Design." 1771.

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" Chimnev riece for the ist Drawing loom at Ilarewood, 2nd Design." 1771.

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instance of the axiom that it is better to be well connected than to possess ability. x\dam had the cntrt'e of the drawing-room, while Chippendale was lucky to be allowed to wait in the antechamber.

Fig. 55 is an instance of this ornamental subterfuge—composition masquerading as sculpture, and applied on marble, in the central tablet. The whole design is characteristic of Adam's work between 1770 and 1775, after the usual process of rationalising by the marble-mason.

The attempt to approximately realise many of the ideas of Robert Adam, conceived without reference to the problem of their execution, resulted in several novel departures

Date about 1775-80.

" 2nd Design of a Chimney Piece for the Gallery at Hareivood."

" 2nd Design of a Chimney Piece for the Gallery at Hareivood."

Adelphi 22nd June 1776.

Adelphi 22nd June 1776.

1 Chimney Piece for fJtC^if. @ (1777.) Undated.

in the way of manufacture, especially in the case of the marble-worker. Adam's finished drawings were nearly always elaborately tinted, and he appears to have favoured bright colourings in painting or inlay. To realise these conceptions in marble it was necessary to inlay coloured compositions or pieces of variegated marble, and the art of the scagliola-worker was called in to aid that of the marble-mason. It is the usual penalty, in a book of this character, that one has to investigate every idle fable which has become interwoven with the history of a trade, and to demonstrate the unreliability of such. Failure to mention is usually credited to ignorance of a fact, and the original story is allowed to persist. With much of the marble work of the Adam period it was customary—especially with the statuary marbles—to chisel out the ground in definite patterns, and to fill up the grooves with coloured scagliola compositions, usually of gypsum, or pieces of tinted marble. This art was known in Italy many years before

5 it. 9 ins. length of shelf; 4 ft. 6 ins. total height; jambs, 9 ins. wide; frieze, 10 ins. deep ; opening, 3 ft. loi ins. wide. Date---.

the period of Adam, and the manufacture of this inlaid work has never been a secret in the higher branches of the trade of the marble-mason. A story is current, however, that this work was practised by an Italian of the name of Bossi—hence the name " Bossi-work," which is usually applied to this inlay in marble—and that the process

_ was a secret known only to him.

According to the story—which is highly circumstantial, as such fables usually are—this Bossi worked principally in Ireland, and, according to the account, he had a chamber assigned to him in the mansion of an Irish nobleman. His patron, however, emulating Bluebeard's wife, obtained access to this chamber, and attempted to penetrate the mysteries of the process, upon the discovery of which Bossi threw up his work and left for Italy in disgust. There are no dates attached to the stoiy, which is highly improbable for several reasons. In the first place, it could not have been possible for a single man, working a secret process without assistance, to have accomplished a tithe of the work credited to him still preserved to the present day. Secondly, the manufacture would have stopped when Bossi returned to Italy, and would have become a lost art, which is emphatically not the case, as so-called "Bossi" mantel-pieces are produced at the present day. The writer has never known an

"Design of a Chimney Piece for the Dressing room at the Earl of Harrington's." Undated.

"Design of a Chimney Piece for the Dressing room at the Earl of Harrington's." Undated.

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" Chimney Piece for the 2nd Drawing room at Lord Stanley's Adelplu in Grosvenor Sauare." 28 Febry. 1774.

" Chimney Piece for the 2nd Drawing room at Lord Stanley's Adelplu in Grosvenor Sauare." 28 Febry. 1774.

Fig 63. Adelphi

1 Chimney Piece for the Drawing room at Northumberland ffouse." 177 V

instance of a desire for companion pieces to remain ungratified. If a collector possesses a chimney-piece of a particular design and requires another, and sends a photograph to a Dublin dealer, it is surprising how soon a fellow-piece appears, authentically attributed to this mysterious Italian. Last of all, this secret process, trumpeted forth by dealers, is no secret to a marble-mason of the old school, as this " Bossi-work " was in fair demand between 1865 and 1875, and was 'made at that period as a usual thing, regardless of secret processes.

Fig. 56, dated February 1, 1775, is an important piece, indicated as for " the second Drawing room at Lady Home's in Portman Square," and evidently designed for execution in inlaid marble, with the central tablet and the oval panels painted on the marble, probably in some species of fresco. Robert Adam was surrounded by several decorators of established repute, on whom he depended for the execution of such panels as on this chimney-piece. Among these artists may be mentioned Angelica Ivauff-mann. Zucchi (afterwards her husband, and the painter of much of the ceiling decoration at Nostell), Pergolesi (whose hand is evident in many of these original sketches), and Cipriani, the author of a book of Ornaments in the style of Adam. Richardson also probably

7 ft. 3j ins. high x 3 ft. 2i ins. wide. Diifp nhniif T770.

7 ft. 3j ins. high x 3 ft. 2i ins. wide. Diifp nhniif T770.

worked under his guidance for some time, but more as a designer than as a decorator.

  1. 57 was designed for the " great Drawing room at Bolton House " 011 July 31,
  2. Here we have the same proposed inlay of colouied marbles in conjunction with fresco and carving. According to the scale, this chimney-piece measures 5 feet 10 inches to the top of the shelf, and 7 feet and 1 inch across the jambs, with an opening 4 feet S inches wide by 3 feet 10 inches high. Some idea of the enormous size of this chinmey-piece may be gathered from these measurements.
  3. 58 is marked as the " 2nd Design of a Chimney Piece for the Gallery at Harewood," and is dated 1776, some two years after the name of the house was changed from that of Gawthorp. This piece strongly resembles a mantel in one of the saloons at Xostell, and it rivals the Bolton House chinmey-piece in size, b:ing 6 feet high from the floor to the top of the shelf. The design of the ornament is evidently intended for inlaid marble, with the familiar Adam rams' heads cresting the iambs anil carrying the frieze moulding.
  4. 59, a " Chimney Piece for the 1st Library room at Roxburghe House," is undated, but is probabl)' of the same period as the Harewood example. This design is interesting as being the one usually selected by the maker of "Bossi" mantel-pieces, in which case the two painted panels at the top of the jambs are omitted.

Fig 65. GILT MIRROR.

7 ft. S ins. total height. 2 ft. 9! ins. width outside frame. Date nhnnt 1770.

Fig 65. GILT MIRROR.

7 ft. S ins. total height. 2 ft. 9! ins. width outside frame. Date nhnnt 1770.

  1. 60 one of these white marble chimney-pieces, decorated with an inlay coloured gypsum and small pieces of variegated marble. The design is simple and appropriate, and characteristic of the work of Adam at this period, although the actual date of the mantel is probably considerably later than the ornamentation would suggest.
  2. 61 is an early design for a " Chimney Piece for the Dressing room at the Earl of Harrington's " Ashbumham House), and shows Robert Adam's treatment for the pier glasses which usually surmounted his chimney-pieces. It will be at once apparent that carton pierre, strengthened with a coring of wire, is the only possible medium in which to realise such a design as this. Robert Adam made some extensive alterations at Ashbumham House, if he did not actually rebuild it. The gateway and lodge entrance were certainly his, erected in 1773, and the general character of this sketch indicates radical modification of the interior. Ashburnham House was demolished in 1897 to make way for the huge flats fronting 011 Dover Street and occupying the whole side of Hav Hill

GILT MIRROR WITH COMPOSITION ENRICHMENTS. (One of a pair.)

7 ft. 9 ins. high x 4 ft. o in. wide. Date ahnnt 1780.

GILT MIRROR WITH COMPOSITION ENRICHMENTS. (One of a pair.)

7 ft. 9 ins. high x 4 ft. o in. wide. Date ahnnt 1780.

The " Chimney Piece for the 2nd Drawing room at Lord Stanley's in Grosvenor Square " (Fig. 62) is dated February 28,1774. The pier glass furnishes another instance of Adam's want of constructional knowledge and the sacrifice of necessary strength to excessive delicacy. Instead of the framing containing the mirror, the glass must have been relied upon to support the ornamentation. These elaborate pier glasses were constructed in the reverse of the usual fashion. The backboard was first framed up, upon which the glass was placed and secured bv a flat rebated fillet. The ornament, whether of wood or composition, or of both, was then affixed to the framing and the glass with an adhesive, the glass being also drilled in places where the overlying decoration required additional support. Although nominally movable, these huge pier glasses were practically fixtures, as the risk of breakage, whether of the ornament

1 Chimney Glass in front Drawing room at Robert Child, Esqre.. in Berkeley Square." 1771.

1 Chimney Glass in front Drawing room at Robert Child, Esqre.. in Berkeley Square." 1771.

" Glass frame over Chimney in Drawing room at Bolton House." 1772

" Glass frame over Chimney in Drawing room at Bolton House." 1772

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