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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.