Added by Firegroup on 27th August 2019
Mantel Width: 81″
Mantel Height: 64″
Opening Width: 54″
Opening Height: 48″
Shelf Depth: 10″
Outside Leg Size:72″
Rebate: 2 1/2″
Whilst every care has been taken measuring the above mantel please regard the sizes as approximate only.
Corinthian Georgian Fireplace Profoundly impressive when arrayed full-scale, as with the portico of Stowe or the main staircases at Osterley Park and Culzean, the elaborate Corinthian order was rarely used in excess by the Adam brothers, and then only in grand settings. It was successfully incorporated as a marble chimneypiece in the principal drawing room of Lansdowne House, where it echoed the painted and gilded pilasters around the walls. Not surprisingly, this became a popular precedent for many decorative timber chimneypieces in the more prestigious urban interiors of the late Georgian and Regency periods.
‘A Kind of Revolution’
Robert Adam, architect, 1728-92
There can be few more enduring symbols of the success of an architectural fashion than the ornamental chimneypieces which the Adam brothers designed for the great country houses and urban developments of Georgian Britain. The ‘Revolution’ which Robert Adam sought to champion after returning from his Italian grand tour in 1758 was rooted in his ambition to transform taste throughout society. While he and his brothers quickly established themselves as leading architects to Britain’s wealthy aristocracy, they also cultivated a belief that good design had a wider civic purpose. It was the family’s mission to democratise taste, with the result that they can now be credited with producing the world’s first ‘International Style’.
The pine and composition timber framed chimneypiece which was to become the icon of Adam neoclassicism was originally the solution to a problem. The rapid rate of construction in late 18th century Britain meant that is was impossible for the carvers of ornamental marble and limewood chimneypieces to keep pace with demand for the simple reason that a great deal of workshop time had to be devoted to making each one, and they were generally very expensive.
The architectural practice run by William Adam and his sons was originally involved in building and development as well as design. They understood the dynamics of the marketplace, and understood that if their unique style was to become the accepted gold-standard in taste, it would be necessary to devise a method of producing architectural fittings at a rate which would fulfil demanding builders’ schedules without in any way compromising technical and design quality.
Their solution was typically ingenious. ‘Adams’ Composition’, a tough compound made to their own secret recipe, could be cast from copper or boxwood moulds and applied to timber frames. The final result could be given one of a number of decorative treatments, such as painting, gilding, or glazing as faux marble, or it could be left ‘raw’ and given a wax polish. These chimneypieces could be produced relatively quickly, and in relatively large quantities, yet they still had the appearance of perfectly designed objects.