Set of drawing instruments belonging to John Wood, architect by Thomas Heath

This extremely high-quality set of 18th-century drawing instruments belonged to John Wood the Elder (1704-1754), the architect responsible for the aesthetics and plan of Georgian Bath.


Details

Medium:
Silver and fish-skin case containing silver, steel and ivory instruments
Dimensions:
13 × 6.7 × 2.1cm
Art Fund grant:
£10,080 ( Total: £26,040)
Acquired in:
2016
Vendor:
Clevedon Salerooms

Wood was born near Bath and trained as a joiner. After working on buildings in London and Yorkshire he returned to Bath in 1827 as a self-educated architect. He then embarked on a series of developments that introduced the Palladian style to the city, as well as establishing the model for terraced houses built to have the appearance of a single palatial facade. Wood’s creative genius can best be seen in the sequence of buildings that progress from Queen Square to The Circus, where he was joined in his work by his son, John Wood the Younger (1728-82). The sequence culminates in the Royal Crescent, designed by John Wood the Younger to his father’s original concept. This magnificent achievement in town planning and design is now celebrated across the globe, a fact reflected in Bath’s designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. John Wood’s instruments were made in London by Thomas Heath, now recognised as one of the foremost British makers of mathematical and scientific instruments in the 18th century. The set includes a particularly fine ivory sector rule with silver mounts, two pens and a mounted pencil. John Wood’s coat of arms is engraved on the lid of the case and the base is engraved with his name. Wood’s drawing instruments will now be exhibited alongside his books and portrait in the Museum of Bath Architecture, an institution which records the building of Georgian Bath and promotes the understanding of its architectural heritage.

Provenance

Private seller by descent. An Art Loss Register certificate has been supplied.

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