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Overmantel

Category

Architecture / Interiors

Date

1575

Materials

Carved and joined oak, inlaid with bog oak

Place of origin

Westmorland (England)

Collection

Sizergh Castle, Cumbria

On show at

Sizergh Castle, Cumbria, North, National Trust

NT 998727

Summary

A carved oak and inlaid overmantel, Westmorland, dated 1575. Edged and divided into three bays by fluted Ionic pilasters and topped by a frieze of foliated scrolls and large oval bosses in beaded surrounds and scroll-edged cartouches. All flanking a dentilled pediment, the tympanum carved with a grotesque mustachioed mask. All above three bays. The central larger panel carved with an armorial shield bearing the quartered arms of Boynton impaling Tempest beneath a further grotesque mask and between a pair of putti beneath perching birds. Amongst the dense scrolling foliage a pair of lion masks flanking a flat oval cartouche inlaid 'TAB' and '1575'. The flanking panels with a further pair of bearded putti amidst scrolling foliage, ram's masks and bird's heads. The fireplace installed in 1810 when flanking pilasters which would have accompanied the overmantel were probably removed. The arms and the initials celebrate the marriage of Sir Thomas Boynton of Barmston in Yorkshire, with Alice Strickland nee Tempest, widow of Walter Strickland who died in 1569. This overmantel bears the latest date of any of the four indigenous overmantels at Sizergh (one other, in the Blindloss Room, was brought to Sizergh from Borwick Hall), and was carved a full six years after the third. It is interesting to note, therefore, that it incorporates almost exactly the same motifs as all of the carved woodwork and furniture at Sizergh. Initials and dates inlaid in the same formats, horizontal oval bosses, a pediment with carved tympanum, distinctive Stork-like birds and putti, and similarly rendered foliage. These similarities suggest that the craftsmen who made this piece worked at Sizergh over several phases and for a period spanning thirteen years. Of extremely high quality, and clearly influenced by Continental design engravings, such as those by Hans Vredeman de Vries (1527 - c. 1607), Cornelis Floris (1514 - 1575) or Jacques Androuet du Cerceau (1510 - 1584). Almost certainly made by immigrant Flemish craftsmen, who also worked at other houses in the area.

Provenance

Given by Henry Hornyold Strickland (1890 – 1975) with Sizergh Castle and its estates in 1950.

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