Tripod

  • Detail

    Oak, parcel-gilt, with gilt-bronze mounts; lapis Lacedaemonius top (replaced) and probably alabastro fiorito below

    97.6 x 47.9 cm – diameter of marble top

    English (London), circa 1827-44

  • Marked

    ‘465[?]’ in ink on paper label under marble top

  • Provenance

    William Beckford (1760-1844), Lansdown Tower, Bath, Wiltshire; Lansdown Tower sale, English and Son, 20 November 1845 and following seven days, day seven, lot 500*; [ … ]; Mrs Thomson (paper warehouse label under top), by September 1936; with Frederick Jones, Bedford; acquired by Professor Albert Richardson, 1 April 1939; thence by descent

  • Literature

    Edmund English and Willes Maddox (illustrations),Views of Lansdown Tower, Bath, London, 1844, pls 4 and 14.

  • Collection

    Lansdown Tower, Bath.

  • Notes

    It is probable that responsibility for the design of this tripod was shared between the architect of Lansdown Tower H. E. Goodridge (1797-1864), and William Beckford himself.

    The manufacture, notable for its richly finished plain and pollarded oak, may have been by Robert Hume Junior (see Derek E. Ostergard (ed.), William Beckford 1760-1844: An Eye for the Magnificent, exh. cat. New Haven and London, 2001, under no. 148).

    During Beckford’s lifetime the tripod stood in the bay window of the Scarlet Drawing Room. In the 1845 sale it was described as ‘A very beautiful Oak Tripod, enriched with bold water gilt mouldings.

    The top is formed of a circular solid slab of rare Lumachello marble, from the Himalaya mountains, 48 cm diameter. In the plinth is another slab of the same costly marble’.

    The silver-mounted Chinese vase originally on top of the tripod has been identified (see Bet McLeod, ‘Some further objects from William Beckford’s collection in the Victoria and Albert Museum’,The Burlington Magazine, June 2001, p. 368, fig. 60).

    *Since the original publication of this note, a second tripod of identical form, seemingly mounted with Lumachello marble, has been identified in a private collection.