Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Victor Alexander Sederbach - Terracottas at Lacock




Victor Alexander Sederbach 
The 27 Terracotta Statues.
at Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire.

Some notes and images.

Commissioned by John Ivory Talbot (1691 - 1772).
For the Gothic Hall at Lacock Abbey
designed by Sanderson Miller (1754 /5).

These remarkable slightly naive terracotta statues and busts have been photographed numerous times and the lack of light whilst I was there made it very difficult to photograph them for the blog.

I believe this collection of sculptures to be unique in English collections. Virtually nothing is known about the sculptor who is presumed to have come from Germany.

It has been suggested in an article in the Connoisseur vol 138 1956 that Joseph Plura was originally contacted for the manufacture of figures for the hall in plaster. Ivory Talbot may have been referring to Plura in a letter to Sanderson Miller in 1753 "an Italian lately come to Salusbury executes these figures well and reasonable -
from An Eighteenth Century Correspondence ed L Dickens p. 304 available online see - https://archive.org/details/eighteenthcentur00dickuoft

The collection of correspondence to Sanderson Miller. This is an important work for anyonee interested in the Gothic Revival in Architecture in the 18th century.
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Pevsner published photographs of the works, which he felt to be German or Austrian in style, in the hope that the sculptor of these ‘weird saints and this bust of ferocious death’ would be the subject of future research (Pevsner 1958, 334). 

"On these brackets and in these niches stands the extraordinary statuary of Victor Alexander Sederbach, a pleasant, modest man and a cheap sculptor. Beyond that we know absolutely nothing about him. His Christian names sound North-East German, his surname South German or Austrian, and the statues in Austrian abbeys are indeed perhaps the nearest comparison to these wild, violent, and unrefined mid-C18 pieces. They are made of terracotta, and it has been suggested that Sederbach was perhaps a Hafner, i.e. stove-maker, and not a sculptor.  (The Buildings of England: Wiltshire)"

The last record of Sederbach is a note in the Sanderson Miller letters of 1757 recording that Sederbach had an offer of work in Holland.

Rather than post my rather indifferent snaps, I have taken the liberty to indulge my interest in early photography to post these photographs by William Henry Fox Talbot (1800 - 1877).

http://www.nationaltrustcollections.org.uk/results?SearchTerms=Lacock+Terracotta





Photograph of the Hall at Lacock Abbey
by Fox Talbot.









Diogenes holding up his lantern in the quest for truth.
Fox Talbot about 4.00 pm 29 September 1840.

images above from - https://talbot.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/2015/12/04/diogenes/

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Photograph of the Sederbach Terracotta of Diogenes by the author

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A letter of January 1756 from Talbot to Sanderson Miller about Sederbach and his sculptures.

“The Foreigner who has been here ever since May has executed his Performance in a very Workmanlike manner and your Niches are filled by a set of Inhabitants worthy such Repositories. I presume you are acquainted with the method of making Models for Statues. He proceeds on the same Principles, only Bakes them afterwards, by which means they become of a Red Colour and ring like a Garden Pot. … I fancy Lord Shelburn will employ him on his Arrival at London, where he goes next week; however, as so many of your friends are Connoisseurs, I would advise them seeing his Performances, which are both Easy and not Expensive. His name is sonorous, no less than Victor Alexander Sederbach and yet lodges at one King’s a Grocer in Green Street, near Castle Street, Leicester Fields. I am sorry he did not show all his Performances to the Gentleman you sent a note by, but on asking the Reason, was told that someone the day before had Broke a Figure, which had made him extremely Captious.”

 Sederbach must have made the figures on-site over a period of some eight months.


see - https://nttreasurehunt.wordpress.com/2010/04/09/freshly-squeezed-research/


A letter from Constance Talbot to her husband William Henry Fox Talbot dated 6 December 1838 refers to their construction: “I have just made acquaintance with an old man who recollects the making of the Terra cotta images in the hall. He recollects some foreigners coming to Lacock & baking the figures in the orchard – it must be about 80 years ago – for the old man is 86.” The figures are recorded in the 1788, 1801 and 1827 inventories, whilst maquettes for some of them remain in the collection.

see - https://www.raa.se/app/uploads/2015/11/Lacock-CMP.pdf

I am in touch with Sonia Jones head of collections at Lacock who informs me that some of the maquettes for these sculptures are at Lacock awaiting conservation reports - hopefully I will be able to photograph them in due course and to post the photographs here.







John Ivory Talbot (1691? - 1772).
Michael Dahl (1656? - 1743).
1245 x 991
Oil on Canvas
Lacock Abbey

National Trust.



The Hon. Mary Mansel, Mrs John Ivory Talbot.
Michael Dahl
1245 x 991 mm.
Lacock Abbey.
National Trust

This portrait of Mary Mansel was painted as a pair to that of her husband John Ivory Talbot (1687–1772), whom she is said to have driven to drink (and commission unusual statues). 

She was the youngest daughter of Lord Mansel of Margam. She had two sons, John Talbot (1717?–1778) and Thomas, 4th Baron Mansel. Her daughter, Martha (c.1722–1790), married the Reverend William Davenport and inherited Lacock on the death of her brother.

Text and image from Art UK website





Lacock  Abbey.
South East View.
Simon and Nathaniel Buck.
Engraving (not available British Museum)
190 x 352 mm
1732.

this image from - http://www.rareoldprints.com/p/12947


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Lacock Great Hall




see - http://www.wshc.eu/lacock/lacock-unlocked/our-favourite-documents/item/lacock-abbey-s-great-hall-commemoration.html







Sanderson Miller (Architect).

Oil on canvas.
76 x 63.5 cms.
c 1750
Acquired in 1948

Lacock Abbey, National Trust 
Image courtesey Art UK

Thursday, 16 August 2018

The Busts of Gratiana Davenport and other Sculpture by Joseph Plura of Bath





The Busts of Gratiana Davenport.
by Joseph Plura of Bath (d.1756).
Giuseppi Antonio Plura.
1753.


Sometimes my blog posts are a matter of serendipity and this one certainly is. In researching the Plura family I came across a reference in what I would consider to be a rather obscure book  - Turin in Britain: Cultural Exchange in Grand Tour Europe  Edited by Paola Bianchi, Karin Wolfe, British School at Rome, Publisher: Cambridge University Press, 2017 in the essay "A Plurality of Pluras: The Plura Family of Sculptors between Turin and Britain" By Alastair Laing, which mentions these busts of Gratiana.

It was very gratifying to be able to walk over to The Royal Crescent and take the photographs of the plaster bust and the next day jump into the car and go to Lacock Abbey to photograph the marble bust.

This bust whilst recognised by Alastair Laing and noted in the biog of Plura on the Holburne Museum website has otherwise remained unpublished. I am presenting the photographs of her here published for the first time.

I really like this bust - it is comparatively unusual to find three dimensional representations of female sitters in the mid 18th century which makes it something of a rarity.

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Joseph Plura was a sculptor of not inconsiderable talent, perhaps not in the first rank, but the bust of Gratiana gives an indication of his skills and the sculpture of Diana and Endymion (now in the Holburne Museum, Bath) is undoubtedly his masterpiece.
He has, until the purchase of Diana and Endymion by the Holburne remained largely unnoticed, overshadowed by his employer, the rich and more socially elevated Prince Hoare.

Giuseppe Plura was an Italian sculptor who worked in Bath. He was the son of Carlo Plura of Lugano and Turin. Carlo Plura may have been the Plura recorded as a stuccoist working at Castle Howard from 1711-1712.  

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Giuseppe Plura probably trained in Turin at the Carlo Emanuelle III Sculpture Academy and may have completed his training in Paris. 

He emigrated to England and by 1749 had settled in Bath where he was known as Joseph. He appears to have begun his career there as an assistant of Prince Hoare and is said to have been responsible for carving the statue of Beau Nash in the Pump Room in 1752. Coincidentally, Prince Hoare was in Italy in 1749 and may possibly have encouraged Plura to come to Bath. The Hoare and Plura family remained linked into the next century.  

In 1747  he had taken on a commission in Madrid to teach the son of King Fernando VI about sculpture. In 1748 however he had a disagreement with the contractor who had employed him to teach the prince, reputed because he was not getting paid and he subsequently left Spain.



He is next recorded in 1750 in Bath, England where he was married to Mary Ford (1733–1825), the 17-year-old daughter of John Ford (1711–1767), the master mason for whom he was working under the employ of Prince Hoare (1711–1769). (check this - when was Ford employed by Prince Hoare).

Ford, John, 1724-71 - Councilman Dec 1724-40
 Constable Feb-Oct 1725.
 Bailiff 1727-28.
 Chamberlain 1740-41.
 Alderman Oct 1740-71.
He was the son of an apothecary, Richard Ford to whom he had been apprenticed. In 1741 a certain John Garden accused him of making ‘a sodomitical assault’ on his person. A further complaint of 1742 claimed he was neglecting his civic duties. He leased property in Stall Street (including the ‘Back House’), part of the White Swan in Cheap Street, the Boat Tavern in Walcot Street, and a lodging house at the Cross Bath. 

Info above from - http://www.historyofbath.org/images/documents/a8b02716-6797-4897-a5ca-040e894f0512.pdf

For more on Ford and other Bath masons and statuaries see my blog post -
- https://english18thcenturyportraitsculpture.blogspot.com/2018/07/parsons-and-greenway-sculptors-of-bath.html

Mary Ford would have been 8 months pregnant at the time, as the couple's first child was born less than a month later. It has been noted that Mary spoke no Italian, so Giuseppe would have met her in Bath. It is also known that Prince Hoare visited Italy in 1749 and so it is likely that it is there that he met Giuseppe and convinced him to return to Bath with him.



These paragraphs were culled from Wikipedia and needs to be checked.

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By May 1753 Plura had completed the Bath City coat of Arms for the pediment of King Edwards School Broad St, Bath (below) designed and built on the site of the Black Swan (info Mowbray Green) between 1752 - 54 by Thomas Jelly for Bath City Council with his father in law John Ford acting as Master Mason. He was paid 25 guineas.





Photograph by the author July 2018

In 1755 Plura completed the five busts of Worthies for the fa├žade of King Edward's Grammar School he received 41 guineas.His father in law John Ford (1711 – 67) was the contractor.














King Edwards Grammar School
from The 18th Century Architecture of Bath by Mowbray Green pub. 1904.

The Photograph and blow ups show the five busts of Philosophers by Joseph Plura
 available online at -
     https://archive.org/stream/cu31924015704285#page/n7

A remarkable resource for anyone interested in Bath and its Architectural History.

These 5 busts were removed to storage in 1978. They have since disappeared – where are they now? missing presumed stolen!

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Alastair Laing reports in A Plethora.....

Ingrid Roscoe in Biog. Dictionary - 
Monument to William Bowles, All Saints, Newchurch, Isle of Wight. 1748.



Near this Place Lye
the Remains of
WILLIAM BOWLES Esqr. who was
Born at Cowes in the Isle of
Wight December the 26th 1682 (?) & departed
Life July the 2nd 1748. He had a well poised
Judgment, never spoke well of himself or ill of
others, was patient, [...] ious, humble,
prudent, peaceable, ever a good
Husband, and a remarkably
kind Relation, had a firm
Persuasion of his happy
State & the glorious
appearance of the
great God and our
Saviour Jesus Christ.




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and Rev. William Allsop,  St James, West Littleton, Wilts - 1750. Rector of Langridge and Vicar of Stanton Drew, both in Somerset.







For St James' West Littleton see - 

https://www.westlittleton.com/West%20Littleton%20Booklet%20A5%20MASTER%20with%20tweaks%20FINAL.pdf


At some stage before 1755 Joseph had moved his studio to Oxford Row (? Westminster or St Pancras)  in London. In April 1755 he approached Perronne, the Piedmontes Ambassador to the King of Sardinia about returning to Turin, Peronne wrote to Ossorio, the Royal Minister in Turin "There is here a Piedmontese called Plura who works extremely well in marble and desires to enter the service of the King" who it seems agreed to hire him in the service of the King.

 Plura decided to accept the offer almost a year later. The new ambassador in London de Viry wrote to Ossario in Turin on 18 March 1736 that Plura had intended to leave England for Piedmont in April but he had died that very morning "d'une fievre maligne".

This was followed by a letter of November 1756 explaining that the Protestant wife who spoke no French or Italian had no desire to go to Italy herself  and did not wish to be parted from her children by allowing them to go there but promised to leave them free to do so once they had reached the age of discretion.



Laing also points out (Tessa Murdoch in Apollo Magazine), that whilst in London Plura was employed to produce a chimneypiece for Norfolk House in St James Square which was altered by William Edwards ( a bill exists 27 October 1755 - for cutting away and making good to the Chimneypiece put up by Mr Plura). 

It is not possible to identify which chimneypiece is referred to. The Music Room from Norfolk House has been reconstructed at the V and A  and a chimneypiece from the Great Drawing Room rediscovered in 1983.


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Joseph (Giuseppe) Plura left behind three children Mary (1751–1831) who married Thomas Bartrum of Exeter, Joseph jr (1753–1785) – who was also a sculptor, and John (1755–1831) an auctioneer and upholsterer who married Frances Delaval – daughter of Sir Francis Delaval and niece of Lord John Hussey Delaval.




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Gratiana Davenport nee Rudd


For the details of the history of the Portraits of Gratiana see - Worfield and its Townships.... John Randall. 1887.
available on line at -https://archive.org/details/worfielditstowns00randiala

"The marble bust is over the fireplace in the small dining room at Davenport House, Worfield near Bridgnorth".

Besides the picture below in the dining room there was another of her with a child in the manner of Reynolds and another of her in old age. There was also a full length portrait of her over the chimney piece of the saloon, which is probably one of those depicted in the mezzotints below.



Sharington Davenport (1708 - 74) with his wife Gratiana
and his half brother William Davenport (1725 - 81).
John Vanderbank (1694 - 1739).
Oil on canvas.
165 x 193 cms
1730's
On loan from the Davenport Family Trust

Lacock Abbey, National Trust.

 Gratiana Rodd married Sharrington Davenport on 22 Jan 1732 (Fleet marriage Registers).


Worfield Church, Shropshire has a monument with a bust of Gratiana signed Plura (check!).
see - https://docplayer.net/59666684-The-davenport-descendants-of-william-davenport-of-worfield-in-shropshire-baptised-1585-martin-robert-davenport-david-john-davenport.html

Gratiana Davenport was famous for her beauty. When the Prince of Wales (later George IV) was visiting the assembly rooms at Bath, Richard Beau Nash was heard to remark to him "Here, your Majesty comes a Rodd to beat them all"

William Shenstone is believed to have written the poem on here memorial slab in the church -

Reader, though young and fair, by all caressed,
With taste and sense or every virtue blessed ;
Be thou the valued friend, the much-loved wife.
Whate'er adorns or flatters human life,
Oh, be not vain, for all that mortals prize
Beneath this tomb in mouldering ruin lies."







Gratiana Davenport
(possibly)
Mezzotint
439 x 303 mm
Alexander van Aken (1701- 57) after Joseph van Aken (1699  - 1749).


1730's.

National Portrait Gallery


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Mrs Davenport.
Scraped within the image: "B. Dandridge Pinx. I. Faber Fecit 1730"
Date erased in later states!
352 x 252 mm.
Mezzotint

British Museum




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Gratiana Davenport and family.

Drawing on blue paper
Lacock Abbey.
National Trust

The drawing above is labelled Richardson on the frame, but it appears to be a preparatory sketch for the oil painting by Vanderbank (above) if the attribution of the oil is correct.
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Bust at No I Royal Crescent, Bath.

































Photograph by the author with grateful thanks to the guides at the Museum.
No I Royal Crescent, Bath


Worfield Church, Shropshire has a monument with a bust of Gratiana signed Plura (this needs to be checked !).
see - https://docplayer.net/59666684-The-davenport-descendants-of-william-davenport-of-worfield-in-shropshire-baptised-1585-martin-robert-davenport-david-john-davenport.html

I have checked this with the Church Warden at Worfield who tells me that no bust exists.

Gratiana Davenport was famous for her beauty. When the Prince of Wales (later George IV) was visiting the assembly rooms at Bath, Beau Nash was heard to remark to him "Here, your Majesty comes a Rodd to beat them all"

William Shenstone is believed to have written the poem on here memorial slab in the church -

Reader, though young and fair, by all caressed,
With taste and sense or every virtue blessed ;
Be thou the valued friend, the much-loved wife.
Whate'er adorns or flatters human life,
Oh, be not vain, for all that mortals prize
Beneath this tomb in mouldering ruin lies."

_________________________


The Marble Bust of Gratiana Davenport 
by Joseph Plura at Lacock Abbey.
Signed and dated on the Socle, 1753.




















































________________

The following sequence of photographs were taken with my i-phone because of the restricted access.
The bust is in a corner and very difficult to obtain photographs of the right hand side of the face.
























All photographs above by the author.

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Joseph Plura
signed and dated.
Jos: Plura 
Taurinensis
Fecit Bathon.
 1752

Photographs Courtsey Holburne Museum, Bath


http://collections.holburne.org/object-1997-1



   

His most famous work is the Diana and Endymion now at the Holborne Museum, Bath (above).

Ivory Talbot of Lacock Abbey wrote to his friend the Architect Sanderson Miller on 13 August 1754 "When at Bath fail not to see a piece of sculpture of Endymion on Mount Patmos, the performance of Mr Plura a statuary" (Warwick County ArchivesCR 125 B letter 405).

Talbot Ivory was a relative of  the husband of Gratiana - Sharington Davenport of Worfield, Shropshire which perhaps goes some way to explain the connection of Joseph Plura and the making of the bust of Gratiana Davenport.





Lacock Abbey
Buck Brothers 1734
Preparatory sketch for the engraving below
British Museum.





Lacock Abbey
by the Buck Brothers




Steel engraving of the Front of Lacock Abbey, 1831.
Showing the remodelled Hall designed by Sanderson Miller.

see - http://www.wshc.eu/lacock/lacock-unlocked/our-favourite-documents/item/lacock-abbey-s-great-hall-commemoration.html

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 The Chimneypiece from the Saloon at Norfolk House, St James' Square, London.
c. 1755.

The information and photographs below from the website of Chesneys

 https://www.chesneys.co.uk/products/fireplaces/antique-archive/georgian-regency-victorian/geo-k96



















1981 mm wide

This chimneypiece is one of a number designed for Norfolk House, the London residence of the 9th Duke and Duchess of Norfolk, which was completed in February 1756. The house occupied the site of the earlier St Albans House, the first mansion to be built on St. James’s Square. The parish of St. James was a newly fashionable and expanding area which was being developed by Henry Jermyn, Earl of St. Albans (c.1604-84), often regarded as the founder of London’s West End. The Earl was awarded this land in the early years of the Restoration- he had been a favourite with Henrietta Maria, and had spent much time with the exiled royal family in France. 

The Earl sold the site in 1676; it changed hands several times but was eventually purchased in 1722 for £10,000 by Thomas, 8th Duke of Norfolk. When Thomas died childless, the house passed to his brother Charles, 9th Duke, who together with his wife Mary, was responsible for building the later Norfolk House.

The building of the new house was begun in 1784, its frontage having been increased by the purchase of the adjacent Belasyse House for £1,380. Both houses were in bad repair by this time and so were pulled down to make way for the new. The architect was Matthew Brettingham (1699-1769), ‘an orthodox but unenterprising Palladian whose dull, well bred facades betray neither the intellect of a Burlington nor the fancy of a Kent. No masterpiece stands out from the list of his works, but in nearly all of them the solid virtues of mid Georgian architecture are evident’ (Howard Colvin, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, p.136, quoted in Pearce, London Mansions, p.77). However the plain exterior of the house belied its sumptuous interior, which alone took four years to complete. The survey of London notes Norfolk House as containing ‘one of the first extensive displays of French-inspired rococo decoration in London’. (Survey of London, p.196). It is thought that it was primarily the Duchess who was the driving force behind the adoption of the rococo style, her taste formed by many visits to the French Court.

At the grand opening assembly in 1756, Horace Walpole was one of the guests; ‘All the earth was there last Tuesday. You would have thought there had been a comet, everybody was gaping in the air and treading on one another’s toes. In short you never saw such a sense of magnificence and taste. The tapestry, the embroidered bed, the illumination, the glasses, the lightness and novelty of the ornaments, and the ceilings are delightful,’ (quoted in Pearce, op.cit., p.77). The principal rooms of Norfolk house were on the first floor, arranged around Brettingham’s innovative central, top lit staircase. These rooms displayed a variety of styles, ranging from the Palladiansim of the drawing rooms to the splendid  Music  Room, now preserved in the Victoria and Albert Museum, and ‘considered to be the most fluent expression of the rococo to be found in England’, (Sykes,Private Places, p.133). The offered chimneypiece was situated in the drawing room which was next door to the Music Room referred to in the inventory as the ‘green damask room’. Another guest a the opening party was William Farington, who included a description of this room in a letter to his sisters; … ‘the next room was Hung and Furnished with Blue {sic} Damask, covered with Fine Paintings, the Gerandoles, fixed in the Frames of the Pictures, which had an odd effect, and I can’t think will be so good for the paint’, quoted in Sykes, ibid., p. 133.

The room also contained a pair of pier tables, now at Arundel Castle, which reflected the head of Mercury in the centre of the chimneypiece. Although no bills survive for the chimneypiece, John Cuenot’s bill for ‘Sundry Articles of Work done and Goods delivered’ lists  his charge for ‘carving two Tables with three heads and different Ornaments & a bottom Rail to each’. This section of the bill for the ‘Green Middle Room’ further indicates the carving of ‘a Mercury’s head with ornaments a top’ together with ‘the ornaments to go over the heads with sweeping festoons of flowers, with various foldridge 4 feet by 3 feet 6’, (reproduced in Desmond Fitz-Gerald, The Norfolk House Music Room , pp/55-6). This seems to relate to then overmantel, which together with the pier tables, can be seen in situ with chimneypiece in the photograph of the room taken by Country Life in 1937, see illus. (By this time, the Green Damask Room had been combined with what was known as the ‘red flowered velvet room’, the adjacent drawing room, to form a long saloon.)

For many years, it was a subject of debate as to how Brettingham could have been responsible for both the Palladian and the rococo elements of the house, but in 1973 it was discovered that much of the interior decoration was designed by Giovanni Battista Borra, a Piedmontese architect first recorded in England in 1751. 

The aforementioned bills of work, which were discovered among the Norfolk manuscripts at Arundel Castle, clearly indicate that much of the work was carried out ‘according to Mr Borra’s Design.’ Borra (1712-86) was a pupil of  Vitone who worked extensively in Piedmont in the middle of the 18th century. Between 1740 and 1767 Borra worked intermittently with Alfieri on the Palazzo dell ‘Accademia Filarmonica in Turin, completing it after the death of the latter. He also worked for the Savoyard Prince, Ludovico Vittorio do Carignano at the Palazzo Carignano in Turin and at the Hunting lodge of Raccognigi, just south of the Piedmontese capital. In 1750-1 he accompanied Robert Wood and James Dawkins on their expedition to Syria and Asia Minor and later prepared the drawings for the engraved plates of their two volumes The Ruins of Palmyra (1753) and  The Ruins of Balbec (1757).  His documented commissions in England consist largely of work for Lord Temple on both the park and state apartments at Stowe, although his name has also been associated, on stylistic grounds, with work at Stratfield Saye and Woburn.

Through his research on the Music Room, Desmond Fitz-Gerald has concluded that ‘it seems more than certain that Borra designed and supervised all the high rococo decoration for the Duchess’, (Fitz-Gerald, ibid, p.25). Fitz-Gerald also attributed the series of chimneypieces from the house to Borra, particularly those in the Great Drawing Room, the Music Room, and the offered example from the Green Damask Room.

This attribution seems to rest in part with their similarity, both in proportion and decoration, to the chimneypiece built for the Garter Room at Stowe, known to be by Borra, - a Stowe guide of 1763 notes the ‘very curious Chimney- Piece of White Marble, designed by Signor Borra, and executed by Mr Lovel’. Fitz-Gerald further points out that as all of these chimneypieces are ‘comparable to other Piedmontese examples in the Royal Palace and in the Palazzo Carignano and Palazzo dell ‘Accademia Filarmonica in Turin, it is logical to attribute the design of the Norfolk House series to Borra’.

The carved decoration is by Jean Antoine Cuenot, who was paid £2643 3s 8 1/2 d for work undertaken at Norfolk House between 5 March 1753 and 24 February 1756. (Murdoch - Apollo Magazine.



Cuenot probably won the commission for the carving at Norfolk house through the influence of Borra and it also seems highly probable that Borra introduced the Bath sculptor, Giovanni Battista Plura originally from Turin. He is known to be responsible for the carving of at least one of the marble chimney pieces. There is reference to him in the accounts for Norfolk House. In William Edwards, Carpenter’s and Joyner’s bill 1751 to Oct 1755 (Arundel Castle Archives (ACA), MD 18/3 top Pleura {sic}: On 27 October 1755 Edwards charged ‘To Cutting away & making good to the chimneypiece put up Mr Pleura’. 

It seems highly likely that he was responsible for the execution of the present chimney piece.

The Norfolk House chimneypieces were included in the sale of the contents of the house, which was held by Christie’s prior to its demolition in 1938. The house had fallen victim to the same inter-war fate as many of London’s great aristocratic townhouses, and was sold and demolished, with an office building erected on the site. 

The Times reported: ‘The passing of Norfolk House is regretted for its own sake and also as a symptom of the wholesale destruction of these buildings which lend dignity and grace to the capital…It is not an exaggeration to suggest that since the war the damage done by the housebreaker and the flatmonger to the aesthetic value of London is comparable to the results that may be conceived from an air raid of the future’.






Advert from Country Life Magazine
Christies for the Norfolk House Sale of 7 Fenb 1938.

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Chimneypiece formerly in the Carlton Hobbs Collection.

The design attributed to Borra and the carving to Lovell

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Chimneypiece from the Music Room Norfolk House.
Now in the Victoria and Albert Museum
see - https://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O11094/panelled-room/


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https://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vols29-30/pt1/pp187-202