Design for a Tablet for a Chimney-Piece with Two Swans in Combat, Enclosed within a Scrolling Cartouche with a Water-Spouting Dragon's Head

Artist: Thomas Johnson (British, 1714–1778)

Date: 1762

Medium: Crayon manner and stipple engraving

Dimensions: sheet: 8 x 13 1/16 in. (20.3 x 33.2 cm)

Classification: Prints

Credit Line: Gift of Harvey Smith, 1985

Accession Number: 1985.1099


Thomas Johnson was an important master carver of Rococo ornament in London during the 1750s and 1760s. His small cahier, or suite, of engraved designs of 1762 illustrated six ornamental tablets for use in the center of mantelpieces above fireplaces. A carver in Philadelphia, possibly Johnson's erstwhile apprentice Hercules Courtenay, commandeered plate 5 for a different use—as decoration on the large lower drawer of a Philadelphia high chest!