Mahogany Mirror

In llie possession of Messrs. Colling and Voung. 3 ft. 4 ins. high x 1 ft. 6 ins. wide. Hate aho.it 1770.

were produced, which, curiously enough, differ only from the work of Robert Adam in being practical in character—an advantage purchased at the sacrifice of the impossible delicacy of Adam's designs. Fig. 64 is a good type of the earlier kind, where the Georgian traditions are still discernible. There is here nothing impossible for execution in carved wood, but composition is a logical necessity for the next example. These mirrors were intended to be fixed to the wall, above the usual commodes or pier tables of the period. Fig. 66 is a mantel glass, one of a pair, evidently intended for a vast apartment fitted with two fireplaces. The design is simple, but exceedingly effective. The central ornament on the top is impossible without the aid of wired composition.

Robert Adam designed a considerable amount of furniture for the London mansion of Robert Child the banker, and at Isleworth he built Osterley Park for his patron, the only Adam house built 011 the open peristyle plan. The sketch, Fig. 67, is dated 1771, and is therefore an early example. It scales 7 feet 4 inches in height by 7 feet in total width. Some idea of the cost of large sheets of glass is suggested by the attempt to split up the plate into five pieces, and with the addition of a base to hold the scrolled ornament at the bottom, there is nothing very impractical in the design.

GILT MIRROR.

GILT MIRROR.

In the possession of Messrs. Gill and Reigate. 4 ft. 4 ins. high, x I ft. 3 ins. outside diameter of frame. Dntf- iihoiit 1775.

GILT AND PAINTED GIRANDOLE. 4 ft. iJn. high ■ I ft. ins. extreme width. T~)ntp nhmit 1775.

Fig. 08 is a design for an enor^Ris glass for Bolton House, 10 feet 3 inches in height, and is dated 1772. The sketch lacks the usual precision of the Adelphi work. The panels of glass are figured with their sizes, some indication that the design was made up as it is drawn here. In these vast apartments it must have been difficult to keep the furniture to a suitable scale to accord, without detracting from its use value. Thus, the clock shown here scales 23 inches in height, and yet appears small in the sketch in comparison with the glass. To complete the absurdity, it is shown with a 6-inch dial.

In Fig. 69 the method of building up these pier glasses on a back framing,

Fig. 85.

" Girandole for Lord Cassillis's Ealing Room." 1782. 4 (t. 6 ins. high x 3 ft. 3 ins. wide over all.

" Ginmdol for Lady Bathurst's Dressing Room."

Adelphi. i\st January 1778.

" Ginmdol for Lady Bathurst's Dressing Room."

Adelphi. i\st January 1778.

before referred to, is clearly suggested. This design dates from 1777, and is in the mature style of Adam. Fig. 70 is a year later, March 28, 1778, and shows one of these tall glasses surmounting a pier table. It is obvious that a lesson had been learned at this late date, from the frequent modifications necessitated by the resolving of the earlier and more fanciful designs into actual being, and in this design there is nothing imprac-

ticable for execution in wood or composition. Fig. 71 is a glass fixed above a small semicircular commode, probably of japanned wood with a central painted medallion. It is indicated as for " George Keate, Esq.," and dated 1778. Fig. 72 is a "Glass and Table-frame "—i.e., a pier table supported on the surbase moulding behind—" for the Breakfasting-room at Osterley," and is signed and dated, " A del phi, 24th April 1777." The suspended medallions 011 the lower panels of the glass are rather unfortunate features, and the design was never executed in this form. Some suggested additions are shown, pencilled 011 the sketch.

  1. 73 is one of a pair of large gilt mirrors made to be fixed above the marbie-top pier tables of this period. In the cresting, the long rectangular panel is painted in grisaille, the oval medallion above being in colours. The scrolled ornament is in wired composition. The design is typical of Adam's best period, from 1775 to 1780.
  2. 74 is of more formal tvpe, and, although of the school of Adam, the general proportions are more bulky than is usual with his work. The oval panel at the top is inset with a plaque of Wedgwood's ware, and crested with a similar honeysuckle ornament to that on Fig. 73. The flanking winged griffins show a characteristic Adam detail.

" G ratefor Robert Child, Es,j." Adclphi. 22nd April 177 3.

" G ratefor Robert Child, Es,j." Adclphi. 22nd April 177 3.

" Design for a Grate and Fender for the Right Honble. The Earl of Coventry." " Robert Adam, Architect. 1765."

" Design oj a Grate for Sir Abraham Hume, Baronet." 2yd Oct. 1779.

The ornament here also is of composition cored with wire, prepared and gilded.

Robert Adam's oval hanging mirrors are among his happiest compositions. Fig. 75 is merely a rough suggestion, made for Sir Lawrence Dundas, afterwards Marquis of Zetland, in 1765. It is given to show that Adam even went so far as to design special wall-hooks from which

" Design oj a Grate for Sir Abraham Hume, Baronet." 2yd Oct. 1779.

  1. 89. "Grates for Sir U'atkin JJynn." Fig. 90.
  2. 91. DigiM&<f%y]MicrJSOft ® 92-
  1. 89. "Grates for Sir U'atkin JJynn." Fig. 90.
  2. 91. DigiM&<f%y]MicrJSOft ® 92-

to suspend these mirrors. Fig. 76 is an actual example, of fine design and beautiful workmanship. The pendant and foliated ornamentation is, of course, in composition, carved wood being impossible with such delicacy of treatment. The conventionalised rendering of the fronded honeysuckle on the top and the curl of the vase below are remarkable instances of vigorous designing. The treatment of tied drapery is unusual with the work of Adam himself, who appeared to be loth to sacrifice any of the delicacy of his details to obtain such devices. With Carter, Wallis, Richardson, and Pergolesi considerable and effective use was made of swags of drapery.

Three oval mirror frames of wood enriched with composition ornament prepared and gilded are shown in Figs. 77, 78, and 79. In the first, considerable use is made of the usual Adam honeysuckle motif, and the small rectangular panel is painted in grisaille, in the manner of Cipriani. Fig. 78 is more ornate, the oval surrounded by a mass of scrolled ornament of wired composition. Fig. 79 is the most rational and simple of the three. Mirrors of this type were usually hung between windows, and were frequently fitted with candelabra. Fig. 80 is one of this kind, unusual in being carved from mahogany. Pieces of this description are often erroneously described as girandoles, even by Adam himself. In Fig. 80 the mirror is framed in a pearled and fluted moulding, with two candle-branches springing from an oval patera, capped by a carved pine cone. Above, on the corners, are two horned rams' heads beautifully carved, which flank another small glass panel decorated with an oval patera and swags of drapery. Above the gadroon-carved capping-moulding is a semi-vase in the form of a cinerary urn, carved with vigorous satyr heads on the corners, from the mouths of which depend a string of flowers and leaves, which are also festooned round the central shield.

Fig. 81 is one of the smaller mirrois made for unimportant apartments. The design is simple and refined, effective use being made of the two Wedgwood plaques above the side panels. This glass originally possessed some scrolled ornament above the fluted capping-moulding, but this has been broken away, and has now been removed entirely and made good. The marks of the piercing for the composition wires are still visible, however.

It is rare to find convex mirrors in the Adam manner, and Fig. 82 is an exceptional specimen in every way. The rectangular panels above and below are painted in grisaille with figures of cherubs. The ornament is sharply modelled, thickly prepared, and gilt.

Robert Adam made effective use of elaborate wall candelabrum, which he describes as girandoles. The term is used in an erroneous sense, as the derivation of the word

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