Mahogany Vase Stand

In the possession of Robert Christie, Ksq. 4 ft. J ins. high •. S ins. diameter of top.

GILT PEDESTAL. (One of a pair.)

There is much, however, in the early work of Robert Adam to be commended, but it was essentially a style demanding metal, stone, or marble as the materials to be employed. This is probably the reason why a good deal of the really successful Adam furniture is gilded or painted in white or cream, wheie in the first the effect of metal, and in the second that of stone, is obtained.

  1. i is one of a pair of pedestals, of carved wood, thickly overlaid with size preparation and gilded. These pedestals were used for the support of candelabrum, lamps, vases, or statuettes, and were favourite pieces with Robert Adam, as the Roman simplicity of purpose could be allied to the detail of his time, without very incongruous results. In this pedestal the top is circular, edged with a narrow guilloche and divided by three oblong tablets, below which are rams' heads with laurelled swags depending from the horns and carried over three leaf-carved paterce. The same running guilloche is carried down the legs to the small triangular shelf bracketed between, below which the legs become circular in section, finishing on the plinth with carved paw feet. Additional rigidity is obtained by the central turned columns, and to insure adequate stability the base is made almost disproportionately large.
  2. 2 is not so successful as a design. The top is also circular, broken out over
  3. 2 is not so successful as a design. The top is also circular, broken out over
Date about~1765.

the tripod. The legs are shaped with a long ogee curve, and finish with rams' feet on a base of the same plan as the top. Loading of the plinth is necessary to counterbalance the piece, which would otherwise be top-heavv. The shape and detail of the turned vase immediately below the top is characteristic of the Adam style.

  1. 3 and 4 are further examples of these tripod stands, the first matching Fig. 1 exactly, excepting -for the turned addition to the top. Fig. 4 is rather unfortunate in the clumsy finish of the claw and ball feet and their attachment to the legs. The central vase of the base is also unnecessary from the point of design.
  2. 5 h3S evidently been designed in imitation of the Roman tripod brazier. The circular top is placed on horned satjTrs' heads, below which are three straight legs reinforced by a lattice strengthened on the intersection with turned reels, and finishing in conventional renderings of the hinder leg of a goat. A tripod of this type would almost demand gilding as a finish, as the design is obviously more suitable for execution in metal than in wood.
  3. 6 is a rational design schemed for execution in wood. The top is circular, cupped to hold a vase, and " pearl " carved 011 the edge. This rests on a triangular top with serpentine-shaped sides and canted corners, the latter having carved oval paterae applied. The supports are tapered, scrolled on top, and moulded on the fronts with a double ogee and central bead. Below the triangular top is a turned " basin," from
  4. 6 is a rational design schemed for execution in wood. The top is circular, cupped to hold a vase, and " pearl " carved 011 the edge. This rests on a triangular top with serpentine-shaped sides and canted corners, the latter having carved oval paterae applied. The supports are tapered, scrolled on top, and moulded on the fronts with a double ogee and central bead. Below the triangular top is a turned " basin," from
Date about 1765.

which depend a series of graduated husks. The legs turn outwards on a heavy moulded base, with carved patera on top, and are tied with a small moulded shelf io-|- inches above the base. The whole design is exceedingly graceful and eminently suited to the material.

Robert Adam seems to have been invariably successful in his designs for tables, and he was freely copied bv others. He appears to have troubled himself very little with regard to considerations of use, beyond having regard to the proper functions of a table. Drawers are a rarity, if not an impossibility, in nearly all his designs. The older Kent convention of the marble table still persisted in 1760-70, although the taste had changed from the cumbrous to almost an excess of delicacy. Marble tops in conjunction with gilded underframing were the general lule, however, about 1760, exceptions being made in favour of paint and parcel-gilding. The execrable composition so extensively used at this date rendered paint or gold a logical necessity to hide the fraud, and when carving was employed, in the case of a wealthy patron, this was also finished in like manner.

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