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Part of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts
John Mayhew (British, 1736–1811)
Date: 1769–71Accession Number: 58.75.21
Lapis lazuli tablet provided by Joseph Wilton (British, London 1722–1803 London)
Date: 1760Accession Number: 58.75.1b
Date: ca. 1785Accession Number: 29.112.2
Date: 1760–70Accession Number: 63.208.2
Date: 1769–71Accession Number: 58.75.16
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The Annie Laurie Aitken Galleries incorporate three intact eighteenth-century rooms from English homes. The earliest is the dining room from Kirtlington Park in Oxfordshire, a country house richly decorated with Baroque stuccowork. The imagery representing the four seasons would have suggested to guests the prosperity and generosity of the host, Sir James Dashwood (1715–1779), for whom the house was built.
England's fascination with French style intensified during the second half of the eighteenth century, as revealed in the tapestry décor of the drawing room designed by the Scottish architect Robert Adam (1728–1792) for Croome Court, a country estate in Worcestershire. Woven at the Royal Gobelins Manufactory in Paris, the wall and furniture coverings combine architectural details with exotic birds, flowers, and other natural motifs typical of the French Rococo style. Tempering the bold colors of the tapestries, the plaster ceiling features sober geometric ornamentation characteristic of Adam's early Neoclassical style.
Adam's mature Neoclassical style is evident in the dining room from Lansdowne House, a grand London townhouse begun for the third Earl of Bute (1713–1792) and completed for the second Earl of Shelbourne (1737–1805). The delicately rendered stuccowork ornament on the ceiling of the dining room reflects Adam's careful study of archeological finds at Rome, Herculaneum, and Pompeii.
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