Console table from Croome Court, Worcestershire

Designer Robert Adam British, Scottish
Sefferin Alken

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 512

Architect Robert Adam’s favorite carver was Sefferin Alken, a Danish craftsman working in London. Alken strictly followed Adam’s meticulous drawings during his employment, then left after four years to work for a rival designer. Here, we see Adam’s delicate ornament and Alken’s precise carving at their lightest and most kinetic. The painted surfaces evoke the ancient plasterwork that had been newly excavated from Pompeii and Herculaneum, while the marble-veneered tabletop demonstrates an innovation that probably reduced the table’s weight but increased its expense.

Console table from Croome Court, Worcestershire, Robert Adam (British, Kirkcaldy, Scotland 1728–1792 London), Carved and painted pine with newly carved swags; marble sheets veneered on a limestone core, British

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