Wonderful woodcarvings and cheeky cheating

A boy and woman looking at woodcarvings in Townend

George Browne was an enthusiastic woodcarver and the furniture at Townend tells the story of his fascination with local, traditional woodcarvings, and also his more exotic inspirations.

George added his own designs to older pieces of furniture, and he was very good at imitating and copying older patterns - so good in fact that we sometimes don’t know which decorations were done by George, and which by his ancestors.

Adding years to a piece

George even added older dates and initials to his designs to make them look more antiquated and to blend them in with the other furniture in the house. In the bookcase he designed in December 1887 he carved the date 1687, together with the initials of his ancestors. Luckily his design for this piece of furniture has survived.

Exotic clocks and more

Sometimes his designs do stand out: for example the rather exotic looking clock cases in the Firehouse, or the mermaids supporting the fireplace in the State Bedroom. 

Not everyone was pleased with his additions to older pieces of furniture. Beatrix Potter described him as 'the tiresome Mr Browne', who added 'copied patterns (to a) splendid old bedstead'.

He also had a special sense of humour. Can you find the row of happy, smiling faces in the fireplace in the main bedroom? Or the pair of feet sticking out of a long case clock?