The chimneypiece retains the original painted panels on copper, the original siena marble insert and virtually all the original white painted surface, along with the original faux siena marble decoration and traces of the original Porphyry and Verde Antico faux marble decoration. A virtually identical chimneypiece without painted panels but with almost identical mouldings and columns, now painted white, is preserved at Duff House in Scotland. Records in the house state that it was sent up from London, but unfortunately do not reveal the maker. Two related chimneypieces by George Brookshaw feature identical central painted tablets, supporting the attribution to him. One is currently in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the other was formerly at Grayswood Hill in Haslemere. Both those fireplaces also share many composition mouldings, typical of the Brookshaw oeuvre. Although it is unusual to find chimneypieces with a marbled effect associated with Brookshaw, restoration has revealed traces of the original painted scheme, and in conjunction with the identical paintings on copper and the repeated composition mouldings, an attribution to Brookshaw seems justified. The paintings on copper panels: Central tablet: ‘Orpheus leading Eurydice out of the underworld, guided by a cupid’. After Angelica Kauffmann (1741–1807), from an etching by Thomas Burke, published in 1782. Oval tablets: ‘Reclining Venus with putti’ and ‘Mercury playing the lyre with putti’. Both after Giovanni Battista Cipriani RA (1727–1785), from an etching by Francesco Bartolozzi RA (1727–1815).
Private collection, London, England.
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