Trompe l’oeil Ceiling with Cherubs
Sir James Thornhill (Melcombe Regis 1675 - Stalbridge 1734)
These are set within the great Baroque interior of the chapel at Wimpole, which was created in the 1720s for Lord Harley, despite the fact that the parish church lay only a few yards away. It may have been conceived in conscious rivalry of the Duke of Chandos’s famous chapel at Canons. The chapel was designed by Gibbs, whose earliest drawings date from 1713. Thornhill received £1,350 for the work, which he completed in 1724; his signature and the date are painted on the lintel to the glazed door leading into the Entrance Hall. Thornhill’s illusionistic style and predominantly sombre colouring were not particularly fashionable by this time, and Harley may have commissioned the work to help his friend’s career.
Oil painting on plaster, Trompe l'oeil Ceiling with Cherubs, by Sir James Thornhill (Melcombe Regis 1675 - Stalbridge 1734), signed on the lintel to the glazed door leading into the Entrance Hall: Iac: Thornhill Esq Faciebat 1724.
Painted by Sir James Thornhill for Edward Harley, 2nd Earl of Oxford (1689-1741) for the sum of £1350; bequeathed by Elsie Kipling, Mrs George Bambridge (1896 - 1976), daughter of Rudyard Kipling, to the National Trust together with Wimpole Hall, all its contents and an estate of 3,000 acres
Makers and roles
Sir James Thornhill (Melcombe Regis 1675 - Stalbridge 1734), artist