- Museum number
Industry and gratitude attended by the four cardinal virtues; design for a ceiling project with allegorical figures seated among the clouds; Industry in the form of an elephant (centre) and Gratitude surrounded by the four cardinal virtues and crowned by the winged figure of Fame (upper left); two putti to the lower right, one holding a balance.
Pen and brown ink and brown and grey wash over black chalk
- Production date
- 1706-1714 (about)
Height: 185 millimetres
Width: 289 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- According to the information provided by Thomas Williams Fine Art at the time of sale, this may be an early design for the ceiling decorations in the Upper Hall of the Royal Naval Hospital, Greenwich:
"Thornhill began with the Great Hall in 1707, and did not move to the Upper Hall until 1714, although he appears to have made designs for the latter work from the moment the commission was awarded. His designs underwent radical transformations over the long timescale of the project, although the shape of our drawing, with its coved corners, is very similar to the painting on the Upper Hall ceiling. The Virtues have been replaced by Gods, and William and Mary are shown in a central tondo.*
The theme of the Greenwich decorations was The Triumph of Peace and Liberty under the monarchs King William and Queen Mary, and The Victorious progress of the Navy, the hospital being founded by the King and Queen for retired sailors. Our drawing shows industry, in the form of an elephant, and Gratitude, attened by the four Cardinal Virtues and crowned by Fame, as described by the artist at the top of the sheet.
*A transitional stage in the design of the Upper Hall ceiling can be found in the Huntingdon Library, San Marino; Robert R. Wark, Early British Drawings in the Huntingdon Collection, 1600-1750, San Marino, 1969, p.46, no. C, illus."
The catalogue entry for Christie's sale of British Art on Paper, Thursday 7th June, 2001 suggests that this was a preliminary drawing for a ceiling at Grimmsthorpe Castle, see page 85.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- John Christian purchased the drawing from Thomas Williams. He retained the invoice, number 2500 (stock no R207) dated 12.07.06 which provides the following information:
"Sir James Thornhill
Malcombe Regis 1675-1734 Weymouth
Design for a Ceiling Project
Pen and brown ink and grey wash over black chalk Inscribed in the artist's hand, u.c. Industry & Gratitude attended by ye 4 Card Virtues &c Fame crown ye & c. and inscribed l.l. Sr J. Thornhill.
185x289 mm 7 3/8 x 113/8 in."
A sheet of further information on the drawing and a reproduction of it were retained with the invoice (See curatorial comment).
The drawing was Lot No. 88 at Christie's sale of British Art on Paper, Thursday 7th June, 2001. See page 85.
A related drawing was sold at Sotheby's 'The British Sale: Paintings, Drawings and Watercolours.' 27.11.03. (Lot 242)
This item has an uncertain or incomplete provenance for the years 1933-45. The British Museum welcomes information and assistance in the investigation and clarification of the provenance of all works during that era.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number