Pair of carved panels
Carved by Thomas Stirling Lee (1857-1916)
83 x 134 x 7 cm
English (London), circa 1900
H.A. Johnstone, 15 Stratton Street, London
Shaw Sparrow (ed.), The British Home Today, 1904, nos. E8 and G9
H. Blairman & Sons Ltd, Furniture and Works of Art (2019), no.13
These double-sided carved panels of entwined and realistically depicted children are surely a response to the fifteenth-century cantorie delivered by Luca della Robbia (1399/1400-82) and Donatello (1386/87-1466), for the Sacristy of the duomo in Florence. The figures in Della Robbia’s cantoria (1431-38) are particularly playful.
Although the house itself survives, the present panels formed part of the now destroyed double height inner hall at Stratton Street. The architect of this Arts & Crafts style house (1895-1900) was C. J. Harold Cooper (1862-1909).
Lee was born in Lambeth, London. He attended the Royal Academy Schools (1876–80) and the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris (1880–81), and studied in Rome (1881–83). Commissions included some bas-reliefs for Leeds Town Hall and carvings for Westminster Cathedral, but his most important commission was the series of reliefs for the exterior of St George’s Hall, Liverpool.
See H. Blairman & Sons Ltd, Furniture and Works of Art (1997), no. 20, for four smaller panels from Stratton Street.