Griffin wall light

about 1802
After Thomas Hope (1769–1831)


Overall: 40.6 x 53.3 x 38.1 cm (16 x 21 x 15 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Beech and limewood, painted to simulate bronze

On View

Susan Morse Hilles Gallery (Gallery 152)




Decorative arts

Thomas Hope, a celebrated collector and interior designer, designed this wall light for his own London house on Duchess Street. Interior views of the house were published in 1807 and strongly influenced English taste during first few decades of the nineteenth century. Architects and designers often turned to ancient Greece and Rome for inspiration, adapting antique decorative motifs to English interior decoration. Sacred to the light-giving sun deity Apollo, griffins were believed to be guardians of the sacred flame and were often used as, or in conjunction with, lighting devices by Regency designers. Made of limewood stained to imitate bronze, this wall light with Roman-inspired back plate was later acquired by Regency furniture collector Gerald Wellesley, 7th Duke of Wellington.


Gerald Wellesley (b. 1885- d. 1972), 7th Duke of Wellington; by descent within the family; sold by the descendants of Wellesley to H. Blairman and Sons, London. Acquired on the London art market by Horace Wood Brock, New York; 2010, gift of Horace Wood Brock to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 26, 2010)

Credit Line

Gift of Horace Wood Brock in memory of Norna "Miki" Sarofim