Obelisk Marbling and The Director
The spirit of Chippendale lives on! We've teamed up with 2017 Art Fund Museum of the Year, The Hepworth Wakefield, to commission contemporary artist Giles Round to explore Chippendale's legacy and the relationships between art, design and the domestic sphere.
At Nostell, Round has taken inspiration from the beautifully marbled paper that Chippendale supplied to line the drawers of clothes presses and provide endpapers for Rowland Winn's historic books. Normally protected from light behind doors and book jackets, these delicate designs have retained their vibrant colours for nearly 300 years.
In the entrepreneurial spirit of Chippendale's firm, Round has created ‘Obelisk Marbling’, a company that produces marbled masterpieces using traditional techniques.
Just as Chippendale’s London premises had custom-made rooms for glass work and wood carving, Round has sourced and created furniture, tools and materials to install a bespoke marbling workshop in the heart of Nostell’s treasure house.
Where Chippendale built a team of joiners and journeymen, Round has trained up marbling makers to keep the company running so that visitors can see the historic techniques and maybe even have a chance to try marbling themselves.
In the 18th century, the craft of marbling was a deeply guarded secret and rarely documented. Artists in different countries used a variety of techniques and methods as technologies and trends changed and these are explored in the Obelisk Marbling workshop at Nostell.
From seaweed and pigments used to colour the water, to combs and brushes used for ‘dragging’ and ‘splattering’, visitors will see the company creating works of art with a range of patterns.
“With marbled papers of all sorts of colours hanging to dry in the company’s workshop, it will become quite psychedelic”.
Giles Round: The Director
As part of a special collaboration with Nostell, Round also presents an exhibition at The Hepworth Wakefield, reflecting on the entrepreneurship of Chippendale and responding to an influential exhibition by Helen Kapp staged at the former Wakefield Art Gallery in 1959, Living Today: An Exhibition of Modern Interiors.
Taking the name of Chippendale's design catalogue as its title, the exhibition at The Hepworth Wakefield has turned the gallery into a domestic showroom that echoes the craftsmanship and entrepreneurship of Thomas Chippendale, and the commercial underpinning of Kapp's Living Today exhibition.