Cravat and medallion carved group 

Creator(s):   Samuel Watson (1662-1715) or Grinling Gibbons (1648-1721)

Date:    Late seventeenth or early eighteenth century

Materials:   Limewood

Location:   Chatsworth, Bakewell, Derbyshire, DE45 1PP

Credit Line (copyright notice for material) :   © The Devonshire Collection

Cravat and medallion carved grouping © The Devonshire Collection


This limewood cravat imitating Venetian needlepoint lace, grouped with a carved portrait medallion, bird and foliage, is an exceptional piece of carving, and is similar to the ‘Walpole’ cravat from the V&A. Gibbons used the cravat device and medallion multiple times through his career, including on the Cosimo and Cullen panels. As such, this cravat has been credited to Gibbons for much of its history.

It is now thought to be more likely by the hand of Samuel Watson who worked at Chatsworth and was a pupil of Charles Oakey, who worked with Gibbons at Badminton, Burghley House and Sudbury Hall. A drawing attributed to Watson depicts the same cravat design as part of a larger musical trophy. This challenges the cravat’s attribution to Gibbons, and suggests that it was probably made by Watson in eulogistic imitation. The figure depicted in the medallion remains unidentified.

Further reading: Trevor Brighton, ‘Samuel Watson, Not Grinling Gibbons at Chatsworth’, The Burlington Magazine, Vol. 140, No. 1149 (Dec., 1998), pp. 811-818 (for further discussion on the question of attribution to Gibbons or Watson).