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Other paintings in London Gallery

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Chiswick, Rangers and Marble Hill House

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Featured Other paintings in London Print

Chiswick House, Red Velvet Room ceiling J970259

CHISWICK HOUSE, London. Interior. View of the ceiling in the Red Velvet Room.
The ceiling is inset with painted panels attributed to William Kent and has usually been interpreted as an allegory of the Arts. The panels around the edge, for example, incorporate musical instruments, portrait roundels of gods and goddesses (Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Mars, Diana and Apollo) and their appropriate Zodiac signs. In the central panel the messenger god Mercury hovers above a stone arch, below which is a group of figures with further emblems of the visual arts: Architecture is represented by a bare-chested woman with a set square and a cherub with a plan of a Roman temple, Sculpture by a fallen bust of Inigo Jones, and Painting by a woman unveiling a self-portrait of Kent.
The radical alternative interpretation of this symbolism is that it alludes to the ritual of the Royal Arch masonic lodge. Red is the Royal Arch colour, so the red velvet on the walls is symbolic, as is the red drape which is being removed to reveal Kent's portrait in the ceiling. The traditional implements of the architect and sculptor, depicted in the ceiling, are likewise masonic emblems, while the combination of an arch below a rainbow which occurs in the ceiling painting was apparently a common subject of early Royal Arch lodge banners. The suggestion, therefore, is that this room could have been designed by Burlington and Kent - both of whom were certainly freemasons - to function as a masonic meeting place

© Jeremy Young

Featured Other paintings in London Print

Rysbrack - A View of Chiswick House K070015

CHISWICK HOUSE, London. "A View of Chiswick House from the South-West" 1729-1732 by Pieter Andreas RYSBRACK (c.1685- 1748). After treatment. Painting purchased in 2007 with support from National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF), The London Historic House Museums Trust, The Art Fund, Friends of Chiswick House and private individuals

© Historic England

Featured Other paintings in London Print

Henrietta-Maria and dwarf, Sir Jeffrey Hudson J900214

MARBLE HILL HOUSE, Richmond-upon-Thames, Greater London. "Queen Henrietta Maria and the Dwarf Sir Jeffrey Hudson" after Sir Anthony VAN DYCK (1599-1641). Henrietta-Maria (1609-69) was daughter of Henri IV of France and wife of Charles I of England. Sir Jeffrey Hudson (1619-82) is recorded to have been only 18 or 19 inches (46cm) tall at the age of 30, unusually with no hint of disproportion or distorted physiognomy. He is later reported to have doubled his height. In 1626 he was served in a pie to the royal couple and soon afterwards entered the service of the queen. After a life of adventures, including military service, a duel, exile, slavery, and imprisonment as a Catholic, his death is unrecorded

© Historic England