Show me:
and
Clear all filters

  • 25 items Explore
  • 35 items
  • 25 items Explore
  • 48 items
  • 89 items
  • 3,454 items Explore
  • 97 items Explore
  • 3 items
  • 4 items
  • 42 items
  • 11,086 items Explore
  • 209 items Explore
  • 1,235 items Explore
  • 8,499 items Explore
  • 5,053 items Explore
  • 72 items Explore
  • 167 items Explore
  • 10,621 items Explore
  • 13,625 items Explore
  • 4,646 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 5 items
  • 153 items Explore
  • 2,038 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 4,757 items Explore
  • 24 items Explore
  • 437 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 19,205 items Explore
  • 34 items Explore
  • 1,898 items Explore
  • 1,113 items Explore
  • 6 items
  • 4,624 items Explore
  • 456 items Explore
  • 29 items
  • 920 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 1 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 7 items
  • 19,367 items Explore
  • 791 items Explore
  • 19 items
  • 73 items Explore
  • 33 items
  • 800 items
  • 25 items
  • 61 items
  • 28 items
  • 319 items Explore
  • 6 items
  • 44 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 2 items
  • 145 items
  • 2 items
  • 9 items
  • 121 items Explore
  • 119 items
  • 1 items
  • 1,021 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 800 items
  • 95 items
  • 27 items
  • 108 items
  • 28,015 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 3,837 items Explore
  • 1,519 items Explore
  • 403 items
  • 158 items Explore
  • 9,719 items Explore
  • 9,685 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 1 items
  • 5 items
  • 39 items
  • 3 items
  • 4 items
  • 5,138 items Explore
  • 7,439 items Explore
  • 4,411 items Explore
  • 1,512 items Explore
  • 930 items Explore
  • 3,493 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 334 items
  • 1 items
  • 1 items
  • 3,439 items Explore
  • 20 items Explore
  • 354 items Explore
  • 797 items Explore
  • 1,095 items Explore
  • 510 items Explore
  • 1,047 items Explore
  • 1,138 items
  • 89 items
  • 125 items Explore
  • 6,953 items Explore
  • 170 items
  • 310 items
  • 4 items
  • 27 items
  • 61 items
  • 304 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 2,923 items Explore
  • 1,575 items Explore
  • 131 items
  • 43 items
  • 19,431 items Explore
  • 1,241 items Explore
  • 138 items
  • 1,491 items Explore
  • 32 items
  • 1 items
  • 132 items Explore
  • 24 items
  • 40 items
  • 20 items
  • 252 items
  • 314 items
  • 747 items Explore
  • 1,897 items
  • 349 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 2,426 items
  • 2,525 items
  • 3 items
  • 3 items
  • 1 items
  • 4,390 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 34,362 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 3,285 items Explore
  • 274 items Explore
  • 8,066 items Explore
  • 31 items
  • 25 items
  • 731 items Explore
  • 3 items
  • 65 items
  • 161 items
  • 52 items
  • 21,728 items Explore
  • 916 items
  • 18 items
  • 22,121 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 2,333 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 1,052 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 59 items
  • 499 items
  • 3,289 items Explore
  • 175 items
  • 453 items Explore
  • 3 items
  • 21 items
  • 90 items Explore
  • 76 items
  • 281 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 6 items
  • 128 items
  • 293 items
  • 736 items
  • 868 items
  • 1 items
  • 369 items Explore
  • 272 items Explore
  • 11,395 items Explore
  • 760 items Explore
  • 6,038 items Explore
  • 10 items
  • 7,376 items Explore
  • 27 items
  • 5,360 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 3,732 items Explore
  • 9,201 items Explore
  • 7,745 items Explore
  • 200 items
  • 19 items
  • 142 items
  • 7 items
  • 1,024 items Explore
  • 19 items
  • 4,095 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 1,096 items Explore
  • 223 items
  • 1 items
  • 3,495 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 20 items
  • 696 items Explore
  • 18 items
  • 134 items
  • 6,619 items Explore
  • 14,230 items Explore
  • 3,127 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 8 items
  • 9,318 items Explore
  • 37 items
  • 2 items
  • 21,320 items Explore
  • 131 items
  • 38 items
  • 13,166 items Explore
  • 3,418 items Explore
  • 2,296 items Explore
  • 44 items
  • 41,378 items Explore
  • 638 items Explore
  • 415 items
  • 23,281 items Explore
  • 218 items
  • 3 items
  • 1 items
  • 20 items
  • 27 items
  • 257 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 217 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 13,207 items Explore
  • 3 items
  • 10,261 items
  • 9 items
  • 10 items
  • 14 items
  • 25 items
  • 1 items
  • 4,534 items Explore
  • 918 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 41 items
  • 1 items
  • 1 items
  • 220 items
  • 702 items Explore
  • 42 items
  • 2,284 items Explore
  • 1,662 items Explore
  • 15 items
  • 1,928 items Explore
  • 151 items
  • 84 items
  • 772 items Explore
  • 3,317 items Explore
  • 41 items
  • 17 items
  • 12 items
  • 10,647 items Explore
  • 23,088 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 1,374 items
  • 180 items Explore
  • 8 items
  • 92 items
  • 13,323 items Explore
  • 3,571 items Explore
  • 2,644 items Explore
  • 4,776 items Explore
  • 22 items
  • 45 items
  • 6,901 items Explore
  • 4,796 items Explore
  • 271 items Explore
  • 2,300 items Explore
  • 2,921 items Explore
  • 3 items
  • 1,862 items Explore
  • 291 items
  • 223 items Explore
  • 448 items Explore
  • 6,122 items Explore
  • 8,817 items Explore
  • 1,859 items Explore
  • 5,797 items Explore
  • 3,344 items Explore
  • 11,070 items Explore
  • 86 items
  • 11 items
  • 1,644 items Explore
  • 7 items
  • 24 items
  • 51 items
  • 5 items
  • 1 items
  • 2,906 items Explore
  • 620 items Explore
  • 62 items
  • 17 items
  • 151 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 87 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 463 items
  • 996 items Explore
  • 3,604 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 9,405 items Explore
  • 48 items Explore
  • 3 items
  • 42 items
  • 3 items
  • 13,714 items Explore
  • 1,169 items Explore
  • 92 items
  • 10,566 items Explore
  • 1,005 items Explore
  • 1,924 items
  • 7,133 items Explore
  • 21 items
  • 12,940 items Explore
  • 1,418 items Explore
  • 6 items
  • 9,584 items Explore
  • 16,318 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 1,670 items Explore
  • 175 items
  • 58 items
  • 5,684 items Explore
  • 8,787 items Explore
  • 48 items
  • 25 items
  • 2 items
  • 59 items
  • 3 items
  • 7,380 items Explore
  • 402 items Explore
  • 13 items
  • 4 items
  • 1 items
  • 6 items
  • 4 items
  • 103 items Explore
  • 7 items
  • 5 items
  • 480 items
  • 299 items Explore
  • 8,367 items Explore
  • 55 items
  • 22,928 items Explore
  • 7,350 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 26 items
  • 3,841 items Explore
  • 465 items
  • 5 items
  • 339 items Explore
  • 12,690 items Explore
  • 55 items
  • 20 items
  • 7 items
  • 4 items
  • 315 items Explore
  • 434 items
  • 183 items
  • 3,704 items Explore
  • 27 items
  • 1,227 items Explore
  • 2,494 items Explore
  • 732 items Explore
  • 36 items
  • 1,135 items Explore
  • 97 items Explore
  • 42 items
  • 217 items Explore
  • 73,197 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 3,065 items Explore
  • 2,845 items Explore
  • 26 items
  • 3,626 items Explore
  • 1,832 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 17,323 items Explore
  • 5,508 items Explore
  • 7 items
  • 633 items Explore
  • 85 items
  • 1 items
  • 468 items
  • 39 items
  • 76 items
  • 29 items
  • 335 items
  • 3 items
  • 41 items
  • 1,176 items Explore
  • 109 items
  • 805 items
  • 17 items
  • 11,031 items Explore
  • 27 items
  • 13 items
  • 1,546 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 214 items
  • 16,818 items Explore
  • 85 items
  • 17 items
  • 1 items
  • 9 items
  • 8 items
  • 324 items
  • 2 items
  • 626 items Explore
  • 1,587 items Explore
  • 8 items
  • 1,035 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 261 items

Select a time period

Or choose a specific year

Clear all filters

'The Kedleston Drawing Room Sofas' by John Linnell 1765

John Linnell (London 1729 - 1796)

Category

Furniture

Date

1765

Materials

Giltwood, gesso, textile

Measurements

122 x 320 x 107 cm

Place of origin

England

Order this image

Collection

Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire (Accredited Museum)

NT 108607.2

Summary

One of a magnificent pair of giltwood sofas, by John Linnell, London (1729-1796) cabinet maker, upholsterer and carver. Commissioned by Nathaniel Curzon, 1st Baron Scarsdale (1726-1804), supplied, together with a second pair of sofas to Kedleston in 1765.The framework carved at the back with rosettes and ribands entwined with festoons of foliage and with medallion reliefs of classical heads applied to the centres, the lower border gardooned. Legs carved as figures of tritons, sea-nymphs and with aquatic foliage and stylized dolphins. Seats, backs, arms and five loose bolsters covered with flowered blue silk brocade. Gilding restored and sofas re-covered and cushions re-tassled by Peter Thuring in 2000-2003 as part of the overall restoration of the Drawing Room. Each sofa is furnished with five bolsters.

Full description

John Linnell was employed at Kedleston and worked side by side with the architect Robert Adam (1728–1792). Ledgers recording expenditure on the building and on the furnishings of the house show that regular payments were made to the Linnell firm between 1759 and 1796 totalling nearly £3,000. No details are given of the furniture supplied. However, John Linnell's designs for the two pairs of sofas for the state drawing-room survive in the V & A Museum. [Print Dept. E 131, 138, 140, 1929] while the executed pieces remain in situ at Kedleston.Nathanial Curzon had been considering the decoration of the drawing room for several years and it was discussed with Michael Henry Spang (d.1762), who advised Curzon on the purchase of pictures and who also carved several of the chimney pieces, that a scene symbolic of victory in battle in which a conquering Britannia and her supporters are depicted within a border of seahorses and merfolk blowing conches. The design was clearly composed to satisfy his patron’s interest in naval exploits and in the sea which also expressed itself in the purchase of ship models for display in the new house. But Spang’s proposal was rejected in 1759 in favour of a design by Robert Adam for a plaster ceiling. This was in the antique taste but nevertheless, included merfolk and seahorses thus retaining something of the nautical flavour of Spank’s rejected design. The plans were agreed for the room and were underway by 1760. Later the following year it was time to consider the furniture, monumentality was essential in view of the scale of the Venetian window and the door cases. The choice of two very large pairs of sofas rather than a suite of armchairs and sofas was accordingly made. Of the large pair, one was to stand on either side of the fireplace, each sofa measuring 13 feet in length. In their design Linnell maintains a nautical theme and his preliminary sketches show various poses for the freestanding merfolk at either end. The second, slightly shorter pair, of 12 feet in length were then designed to stand against the east wall and one against the west wall of the room, each end composed of a reclining Triton and sea nymph. Both pairs are supported at the centre by entwined dolphins. It was Linnell’s original intention to complete the decoration of the largest sofas with a circular medallion on the back carved with the Scarsdale arms. The design of these medallions was changed however during the planning stage to the adoption of classical scenes and eventually to profile heads derived from classical sources. In the preparation of these designs Linnell had been aided by his previous experience in planning George III’s Coronation Coach. He doubtless also had the benefit of discussions with Adam, under whose direction he was working and, above all, he was concerned with the interpretation of his patrons wishes, which are likely to have been clearly explain to him.The sofas took about three years to make and the first arrived in Kedleston in July 1765. Samuel Wyatt at once reported to Lord Scarsdale ‘the sofa arrived safe and it is certainly as elegant a piece of furniture as ever was made and as all well executed. The gilding is by far the best done of any I ever saw, it’s suits the place in point of size very well‘. Another and, probably all four, had arrived by August of that Year. They did not, however, survive the journey without damage for a local man was paid in August 1765 for ‘glueing bits on sofas.' How much Linnell charged for these elaborate and unique creations can only be guessed from entries in the ledger. These show payments to the firm of £200 in 1765 and £600 in 1766. For further extensive discussion and research of the Linnell firm and Kedleston Hall see: Hayward & Kirkman ‘William & John Linnell, 18th century London Furniture Makers’ Studio Vista 1980. James Weedon (May 2018)

Provenance

Made by John Linnell, London (1729-1796) cabinet maker, upholder and carver. Commissioned by Nathaniel Curzon, 1st Baron Scarsdale (1726-1804), supplied, together with a second pair of sofas to Kedleston in 1765. Purchased in 1987 by the National Heritage Memorial Fund from Francis Curzon, 3rd Viscount Scarsdale (1924-2000). On loan to the National Trust from the National Heritage Memorial Fund 1987-1988. Purchased by the National Trust in 1988 from the National Heritage Memorial Fund.

Makers and roles

John Linnell (London 1729 - 1796), cabinet maker Robert Adam (Kirkcaldy 1728 - London 1792), designer

References

Hayward and Kirkham, 1980: Helena Hayward and Pat Kirkham. William and John Linnell, eighteenth century London furniture makers. London: Studio Vista in association with Christie’s, 1980. Dictionary of British and Irish furniture makers online (1660-1840) FHS 2017

View more details

Related articles