Overmantel – Photograph (PWDRO 244/5) Edmund H. Sedding designer; 1893

This elaborate piece of work features three literary scenes with quotations, surrounded by trailing foliage and flowers. At the top is a coat of arms, although it is very indistinct and cannot be identified. The annotation implies that all three scenes are from Shakespeare but the largest and uppermost is from Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, beneath which runs the words ‘Her angels face as ye great eye of heaven shyned bright’. Below that is a woodland scene from As You Like It, with ‘What shall he have that kild the deere’ underneath. At the bottom, just above the fireplace, is a gathering of lords and knights from Pericles, with the quotation ‘To say you are welcome, were superfluous’. The item appears to be unfinished as several spaces for roundels are unfilled. A clue to its destination is given in a very short newspaper report of current work from the Pinwill studio. It mentions that a ‘handsome oak over-mantel, just been dispatched to Bath, included three large subjects from Shakesperian masterpieces’ (Western Morning News, 1893 p. 5). We also learn that this work was from a design by Edmund H. Sedding. It is a wonderful piece and the finished mantel must have been a source of joy to its owner, who probably supplied the ideas and perhaps the quotations. Where and whether it survives in Bath is unknown.


PWDRO 244/5 Photograph Album. Various. Woodcarvings.

Western Morning News (1893) West of England News. 29 November p. 5.