John Wood the Elder’s drawing instruments return to Bath
- Published 15 March 2016
The set of instruments was acquired by Bath Preservation Trust with support from the Art Fund.
Bath Preservation Trust has revealed that it was the mystery purchaser of John Wood the Elder’s set of drawing instruments, which were sold at Clevedon Auction Rooms last week. The set was acquired for a total price of £26,000 with support from the Art Fund, the V&A Purchase Grant Fund and several local donors.
John Wood the Elder was an English architect who worked mainly in Bath and was responsible for establishing the city’s unique architectural style. Some of his individual buildings attracted attention, such as the Royal Mineral Water Hospital, but he was most highly regarded for his planning of streets and housing.
His drawing tools are engraved with Wood’s coat of arms and were made by Thomas Heath, the leading 18th-century maker of drawing instruments developed specifically for architects. The set dates from around 1745, has a silver and fish skin case, and comprises of a silver scale ruler, an ivory sector ruler with silver mounts, compass, dividers, bow, two pens and a pencil. Before the sale, the items were held in private hands.
Stephen Deuchar, director of the Art Fund, said of the acquisition: ‘Congratulations to Bath Preservation Trust for their success at a nerve-wracking auction! We’re very pleased to have played our part in securing these instruments for public ownership and display in Bath, where they rightfully belong – surrounded by the very buildings they helped create.’