Wednesday, 27 April 2011


back at Fonthill,


Fonthill Abbey: the Grand Drawing Room

Stedman Whitwell Architect del.; engraved by John Cleghorn.
Plate 5

magnificent in dimensions and decorations ... The ceiling beams are carried at their ends by carved and gilt corbels, and the hangings are of garter-blue silk damask, embellished with gold mouldings. The burnished gilt chairs are covered with the same. In the centre of the room, upon a carpet of extraordinary costliness, stands a table of Egyptian marble, the largest slab of the kind in Europe. (pp. 30-31).

Interior of King Edward's Gallery
Looking across the Octagon into St. Michael's Gallery

Drawn by C. F. Porden; etched by John Cleghorn
engraved by Robt. Havell & Son, Chapel Str. Fitzroy Squ.
Plate 6

a magnificent apartment, embellished with a masterly and unsparing hand, superbly furnished, the ceiling covered with carving, and the walls nearly concealed by the ample and duplicated curtains of deep blue and scarlet.
This gallery has been designed for the purpose of commemorating the names of those individuals of Mr. Beckford's ancestry, who have been honoured with the illustrious knighthood of the garter. The number and rank of these persons, their historical and chivalrous fame, would add lustre to any genealogy.
Edward the Third, the founder of the order, and after whom this Gallery is named, occupies the place of honour, over the alabaster chimney piece, in the centre of the apartment: the portraits of six royal and most distinguished knights are placed three on each side; their arms and badges being emblazoned in stained glass on the opposite windows. In the frieze of the cornice, which surrounds the room, seventy-two gartered shields contribute to give this part of the decoration an appropriate and unusual richness.
The lofty windows to the west admit a strong influx of light, which, when the scarlet curtains are drawn, sheds a general and magical tint over every part ... (pp. 33-34).

 Fonthill Abbey: Specimens of the Ceilings: 
1. St Michael's Gallery 
2. Yellow Withdrawing Room
3. Grand Saloon
4. The Sanctuary
5. The Gothic Cabinet
6. King Edward's Gallery
7,8,9,10,11,12. Bosses.

Drawn by J. Rutter; engraved by J. Cleghorn.
Plate 10


John Rutter: Delineations of Fonthill and its Abbey
Published June 2nd 1823, London

Now playing:  Yo-Yo Ma - Elgar Cello Concerto, 1st mvmt


John J. Tackett said...

These wonderful drawings are as informative as they are beautiful. __ The Devoted Classicist

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Fonthill must have been magnificent when built and in its day - but at what cost?!!

One of the great sadnesses of life is the disappearance of so much of our cultural heritage, a progress somewhat halted by Roy Strong's superb exhibition at the V and A, 'The Destruction of the English Country House', in the very early 1970s soon after he became Director. You may have seen it, for all we know.

David Toms said...

I love these old prints and they would look lovely framed. This must have been a magnificent residence.