Dimensions: 141cm x 186cm
Material: White marble
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After purchasing Bentley Priory in 1788 John James Hamilton, 9th Earl of Abercorn and later 1st Marquess of Abercorn, employed eminent architect, Sir John Soane, to make some drastic alterations and additions to the house. This included an entrance hall, circular tribune room, music hall, library and numerous outbuildings. The modest dwelling was transformed over time into a striking Mansion House, emulating the new Marquess’ status. Boasting 50 bedrooms, the house hosted extravagant parties and performances, attended by artists, politicians and influential people of the time.
This fireplace is white marble with a grey vein running throughout and is simply decorated with circular motifs. Each circle is about a hand width in diameter and they are spaced a hand width apart, continuing around the surround of the fireplace. There are six on each vertical surround, eight on the horizontal mantle and then one in each top corner. In the centre of each circle is a smaller circle, almost like a ball. The design of the fireplace is typical Soane design; a simplified, classic look.
The fireplace is one of three fireplaces within the Museum which are Soane’s originals. It is positioned within the Rotunda; a large circular room with a glass domed ceiling. The room was created in 1789 to display pictures and objects of virtue for the 1st Marquess of Abercorn. Today, the walls of the Rotunda are filled with images and memorabilia from the aircrew of the Battle of Britain, ‘The Few’.