The world of Thomas Chippendale comes to life at Nostell

Press release
Chippendale correspondance from the Nostell archive
Published : 16 Jul 2018

Throughout 2018, the National Trust is celebrating 300 years of one of the leading cabinet makers of the 18th century, Thomas Chippendale, and his connection to Nostell, an 18th century treasure house in West Yorkshire.

Nostell houses one of the most extensive collections of Chippendale’s work in the country, with more than 100 pieces of furniture crafted for the owner, Sir Rowland Winn. The house also boasts a suite of show rooms which exemplify Chippendale’s work as a renowned interior designer.

Interior Worlds: Thomas Chippendale is an exhibition across the first floor state rooms of Nostell, designed to encourage visitors to immerse themselves in the 18th century and re-examine the work of Chippendale (until 04 November).

The stunning works found throughout the house illustrate Nostell’s role as an 18th century show house built to impress visitors, while also unravelling the key themes of the 18th century: interior design, trade and empire, status and material goods, lure of the exotic and unfair trade.

Simon McCormack, project curator at Nostell, explains: “Interior Worlds explores more than just the facts. It is about answering the bigger, deeper questions: What was this place for? What purpose did it serve for its owner? Why was Chippendale so influential?

“Nostell is not just a great treasure house, but behind the beautiful objects and sumptuous interiors, there is a whole series of deeper stories waiting to be told.”

Nostell has also teamed up with The Hepworth Wakefield art gallery to commission contemporary artist Giles Round to explore Chippendale's legacy and the relationships between art, design and the domestic sphere.

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.

In the entrepreneurial spirit of Chippendale's company, Round is creating 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 is sourcing and creating furniture, tools and materials to install a bespoke marbling workshop in the heart of Nostell.

Giles Round will train up Volunteer Makers to keep the company running throughout 2018, and on selected days from Saturday 14 July to Sunday 4 November, visitors will have the opportunity to see the historic techniques and try marbling.

Giles Round said: “I’m interested in Chippendale as an entrepreneur and his influential use of the catalogue as a sales tool allowing clients to order functional objects in a variety of fashionable styles from Rococo to Neo-Classic.

“Alongside furniture produced in his London premises, Chippendale would also design or procure items such as carpets, wall coverings and iron work. The workshop at Nostell and the exhibition at The Hepworth will respond to enterprise in relation to the domestic interior.”

Interior Worlds: Thomas Chippendale at Nostell will continue until Sunday 4 November, with final celebrations taking place as the house reopens for Christmas. The programme is part of Chippendale 300, a nationwide celebration, taking place in 2018 to mark the tercentenary of Thomas Chippendale’s birth in June 1718.

For more information about Nostell, Chippendale and his work, visit: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/chippendale-revealed-online-exhibition-highlights

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