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Six new objects join Parliament’s Heritage Collections

Parliament has recently acquired six significant objects for its Heritage Collections. Four of the objects were designed by A.W.N. Pugin (1812-1852). They join the collections alongside a small painting by William Dyce (1806-1864) and an architectural model of Westminster Hall.

The objects have been purchased from the estate of Clive and Jane Wainwright. The Wainwrights had a long-standing, personal connection to the Palace of Westminster.

A room with a large desk in the centre. The desk is wooden with three drawers, and a large shiny top. There is an 'H' shaped cross beam connecting the 4 legs. On top are some books and a small sculpture bust. The room has a patterned carpet, A large decorative bookcase filled with books, and some artworks hanging on the wall. There is a red door in the corner.
Drawing table designed and owned by A.W.N Pugin. POW 10924 Photo: Blairman

Jane Wainwright worked for many years as Librarian of the House of Commons Library.

Clive Wainwright (1942-1999) was a leading scholar of the work of A.W.N. Pugin, the architect who designed the interiors of the new Palace of Westminster. Clive was also a furniture historian and curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum. In 1994 he produced the landmark exhibition ‘Pugin: A Gothic Passion.

Clive undertook extensive research into the history of the Palace’s interiors. Most famously, he was responsible for the rediscovery and return of the State Bed to Speaker’s House in 1984.

The objects acquired include:

Pugin’s Original Drawing Table

Pugin designed this table between the 1830s and 1840s for the preparation of his architectural designs. It is quite low at 160cm which fits with his 5ft 2” stature. It is believed to have been used by him during the execution of his detailed drawings for the Palace of Westminster interiors.

See an example of one of Pugin’s design drawings.

A small painting in an ornate gold frame. The painting depicts a man playing a harp like instrument to a woman, with two other women looking on. The pair are stood in front of an archway, through which the outside can be seen, and two figures are in front of a large tree trunk. The man is a white adult with long brown hair and a moustache. He is wearing a yellow tunic with brown tights and green boots. The instrument is resting on his thigh, and he has a red belt and red satchel at his side. He is looking at the woman. She is a white adult women with a long orange tunic, red belt, and blue cloak fastened at her neck with a decorative clasp. She has brown hair going behind her shoulders, and she is looking down, with he right hand on her heart. In her left hand she is holding some kind of curved handle. Behind her, two adult white women stand together, looking over at the two central characters. They are all stood on large flagstone flooring, in front of an archway which gives way to a chequered floor and view of the outside. Outside there is a blue sky, row of distant trees, and grass. The trunk of a closer tree is central to the view, and one figure stands looking at another seated figure by the trunk. The golden frame is very wide and carved with some abstracted floral motifs.
Tristan Harping to Isolde, painting by William Dyce, 1851, WOA 7743 Photo: Maria Unger

Preparatory Sketch by William Dyce

William Dyce was a leading Victorian painter. He was appointed by Prince Albert and the Fine Arts Commission to produce several works of art for the Palace of Westminster. Dyce completed this sketch, entitled ‘Tristan Harping to Isolde’, in 1851. The sketch is part of his preparatory works for his scheme of works in the Robing Room, House of Lords.

See the works of art by Dyce in the Parliamentary Art Collection.

House of Commons Portcullis chair

Pugin designed the iconic green Portcullis chair around 1850 for the furniture in the House of Commons. The chairs were originally intended for the Commons lobbies, but the design was later extended for use across the Commons. A version in red upholstery can be found throughout the House of Lords, including refreshment rooms, offices and committee rooms.

Take a look at the different versions of Portcullis Chair in the Historic Furniture and Decorative Arts Collection.

Stained Glass

This stained-glass panel comprises original elements designed by Pugin. It was manufactured by Hardman and co. The panel is believed to have been reconstructed after their damage in the first world war. The presence of so many ‘VR’ motifs, the royal cypher for Queen Victoria, indicates it likely originated from the original Victorian glazing schemes.

Pugin used the VR cypher throughout the Palace, including on encaustic tiles.

Carved Wooden Panel

This decorative oak panel, likely from the Royal Gallery in the House of Lords, was designed by Pugin and features carved foliage motifs. Its an excellent example of the skilful carving that was used to adorn the interiors of the Palace of Westminster. It showcases the influence of the medieval styles and techniques that inspired Pugin’s work.

Architect’s model of the north façade of Westminster Hall

Created in 1832-33, this intricate model by an unknown maker is made of wood and card. It represents the North façade of Westminster Hall. This representation of the hall was made after the restoration works carried out by Sir John Soane’s in 1810 so it shows the how the façade has evolved over time.

View other architectural models in our Architectural Fabric Collection.

A wooden architectural model of the façade of a building inside a wooden casing which has been painted black. The model itself is a sandy colour, and depicts a building with a symmetrical design. The centre of the building has a small spire on top of a pitched roof. There is a large window with tracery which looks like it is for stained glass. Beneath, there is a large arch leading to the door. Around the arch is intricate carved details and a series of empty niches. Either side of the central part of the building is a square tower. They are topped with castellation, and each have 2 windows which are each split into quarters and decorated with carved details. At the bottom of each tower is a continuation of the carving around the door, and many more empty niches. Inside the doorway, there is a small notice or sticker, and some black and white chequered patterning indicating tiling. The black box in which the model sits has some signs of wear, with some of the black paint flaking away around the edges.
Architectural model by Unknown © UK Parliament AFC 005511
January 15, 2024