A Gothic Revival Caen stone chimneypiece, attributed to John Middleton (1820–1885).
This grand chimneypiece has double columned jambs in a garnet coloured Serpentine marble which support a Languedoc marble shelf. The fireplace bears attributes of Norman ecclesiastical architecture, with zigzag mouldings framing both the frieze and the arched opening.This is not only due to Middleton’s passion for church architecture but also reflected the great religious revival of the nineteenth century; the Oxford movement perhaps being the most famous.
This chimneypiece is likely to have come from a grand Gothic Revival House in Cheltenham or its environs. It would have no doubt come from a room of grand proportions and it certainly would have made a magnificent centrepiece.
Orphaned from a young age, Middleton was left only a modest allowance which he used to train as an architect in the North of England. He did however manage to travel to Europe, which influenced his style a great deal. Middleton went on to design a number of churches, residences and even railway stations in the favoured Gothic style of the period. Some of the most beautiful residences and public buildings he designed were in Cheltenham, including the Cheltenham Ladies College. Nearly every private residence he designed had a grand chimneypiece. These Gothic creations were hewn from both stone and marble, with grand columns and bold carving, not so different in design from gothic sedilia.
English, circa 1870.
Link to: Antique Renaissance, Gothic Tudor Fireplace mantels and Chimneypieces: 1260 - 1600