William Kent (Bridlington 1685 – London 1748)
1730 - 1770
Rievaulx Terrace, North Yorkshire (Accredited Museum)
One of a pair of William Kent settees with carved gilt arms, and 'S'-scrolled legs united by garlands of oak leaves and sprays of acanthus, the front frieze decorated with a central acanthus leaf and two sphinx figures. The top rail is surmounted by a carved female head (representing the goddess Diana?). The detailing typifies Kent's eclectic mix of ancient motifs. Before William Kent fine furniture tended to be quietly rectilinear with restrained shallow carving. Kent's design for these settees was very different. The design is 3-dimensional and sculptural, with figures of sphinx-like mermaids, and a mask of Diana? and overflowing with carved leaves, fruit and flowers.
Accepted by HM Government in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to the National Trust for display at Rievaulx Terrace, 1972.
Makers and roles
William Kent (Bridlington 1685 – London 1748), designer