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A Highly Unusual 16th Century English Limestone Chimneypiece of Monumental Proportions

Most likely a product of the late Elizabethan period (1558–1603). Beneath the uncarved shelf in three blocks, guilloche is carved into the stone, framing the frieze, which is carved with asymmetrical ornamentation of alternating geometric designs and stopped flutes. The five diamond designs are evocative of medieval wood carving, often found on panelled screens, beams or settles, naively carved in low relief.

The construction of the chimneypiece owes much to Italian cinquecento chimneypieces, with the deep shelf supported by jambs that would have been buried deep into the wall, as buttresses to support the weight. However, the profile of this chimneypiece with protruded jambs and oversized shelf, is comparable to chimneypieces in Plas Mawr, an Elizabethan house in Carnarvonshire, North Wales. The spandrel flanking the shaped opening is further drawn from Elizabethan chimneypieces, though this influence is diminished by the stark absence of gothic detailing in the carving.

Height 81½in (207cm)
Shelf length 72in (182.9cm)
Footblock to footblock 63in (160cm)
Jamb width 9in (22.9cm)