An exceptional Gothic Revival stone chimneypiece from Woodchester Mansion. Carved from soft buff coloured Bath stone, this chimneypiece is a celebration of nature, with a floral undershelf beautifully carved in high relief. This rests on a frieze carved with five foliate panels. One panel is carved with a vine, the other a flowering lily, the central panel depicts two birds devouring grapes from a vine, the next, a British oak laden with acorns, and the final panel, a fruiting ivy.
This beautiful carving is surpassed only on the spandrels, where on one side it is carved with a grapevine, and on the other a serpent is shown within a fruiting tree, evoking the story of Eve. The jambs are deftly carved with floral paterae and grapevines over moulded footblocks.
This piece is an extraordinary survival from the unfinished Woodchester Mansion in Gloucestershire. By repute it was designed and made for the mansion but was never installed as the building project was left unfinished. AWN Pugin drew up early plans for this house, but the project was later taken on by Benjamin Bucknall. It is uncertain whether this chimneypiece was designed by Pugin, or was in fact designed by Bucknall, but it does share many stylistic similarities to the stonework throughout the rest of the house. Sadly after the patron of the project died, his Gothic vision was never realised in full.
Provenance: Woodchester Mansion, Gloucestershire.
View our collection of: Antique Renaissance, Gothic Tudor Fireplace mantels and Chimneypieces: 1260 - 1600