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This sketch depicts an assembly of classical gods, with the sun-god Apollo in his chariot at the top. The design is full of incident and includes so many figures that some seem to be falling out of the fictive sky into the real space below.

This design was for a ceiling of an aristocratic patron, and was probably intended for a room at Moor Park Hall, Hertfordshire. Is it possible to detect a distinct ‘aristocratic’ taste in such designs?

March 2011