G232

Please note: This item has been sold

Originally from Methley Hall, near Leeds, which was remodelled by Carr of York in the late 18th century. Methley was demolished c.50 years ago, and the chimneypiece was removed but remained in the property of the family.

This finely-detailed fireplace features a siena marble frieze, flanked by rosette paterae, with a delightful centre tablet depicting a pair of exceptionally carved ‘billing’ doves against a foliate background. The jambs are formed of acanthus-decorated consoles above hanging garlands of flowers. It was made for Methley Hall in Yorkshire (now demolished), which was remodelled in the late 1760s by John Carr of York (1723–1807) for John Savile, 1st Earl of Mexborough. The interiors of this important house were photographed for Country Life in 1907.

A similar fireplace featuring billing doves and floral swags can be found at Croome Court in Worcestershire. It was carved by John Wildsmith for George, 6th Earl of Coventry, circa 1760. Shortly afterwards Croome was remodelled by Robert Adam who, from 1765, collaborated with Carr of York on the interiors at Harewood House in Yorkshire. The connection is conjectural but it is possible Carr could have been inspired by the example at Croome.

Billing doves were a popular decorative subject in the eighteenth century, symbolising  lovers’ embraces.

Height 52 1/2 in (133.4cm) width 75 3/4 in (192.4cm) 
Internal height 42 in (106.7cm) width 45 in (114.3cm) 
Shelf depth 9 1/2 in (24.1cm)