Lethaby, William Richard (attributed)
(Design for the wall of a room in the house of an art collector).
(1880s or 1890s ?).
The drawing is in pencil and coloured wash, heightened with white colouring, on greenish paper, 490 x 690mm.
This attractive drawing derives from the estate of the late Alwyn Bruce Waters CBE FRIBA (1906-87), who had been the last architectural assistant of the Arts-and-Crafts architect Robert Weir Schultz, and had had the opportunity to acquire from him or from his estate a choice selection of drawings both by Weir Schultz and by Weir Schultz’s old friend and near neighbour W.R.Lethaby. When offered for sale at Christies as lot 87 in their sale of 19 December 1989, the present drawing was sold as by Lethaby. The draughtmanship is accomplished (note in particular the very able manner in which the large picture over the mantelpiece is represented), and if the drawing is by Lethaby, the likelihood is that it dates either from the 1880s, when Lethaby was chief assistant in the office of Norman Shaw, or from the early 1890s. It should clearly be possible to determine the house and client involved from identifying the paintings featured in the drawing. It should be noted that although the fireplace with its Ionic columns is not in a style that is obviously associable with Lethaby, the wall as a whole has an Arts-and-Crafts character and it may well be that Lethaby was providing a scheme of decoration for a room with an existing fireplace designed by another architect.