Stripping Chippendales

“Straighten your tie and do it up properly, tuck in your shirt, and stand up straight! And get a haircut.” These are the boring messages that parents have to give to teenage boys, until the penny eventually drops, and they realise that they are not going to get far in life looking like messy idiots. The furniture in the collections cannot do their equivalent of these sorts of things for themselves, so when they get sent out on loan for exhibition, or some kind of media exposure, it is important that they are looking at their best. BBC4 is  making a new series about craftsmanship in wood, and one of the parts is on the Age of Chippendale. My retired colleague James Lomax, Curator Emeritus of Temple Newsam House, has been advising the programme makers, and on 23 April James and the BBC will be filming at Nostell Priory, a house near Wakefield, that contains one of Chippendale’s great commissions. A chair at Temple Newsam House, whose design is clearly taken straight from Chippendale’s Director, will be taken to Nostell Priory for one of the discussion points. Some simple woodwork repairs were needed before it could go, but it was the condition of the upholstery that warranted attention most, as shown in the pictures below.

Re-upholstery was the only option, and it was also the opportunity to fit a  more appropriate top cover, a moire patterned wool, a lovely rich red.

Various stages of the reupholstery are shown below; the horsehair stuffing was re-used, after having had a spin in the washing machine

Repaired, cleaned, polished, and everything tucked in, ready for the BBC cameras.
Carved With Love: The Genius of British Woodwork: The Extraordinary Thomas Chippendale
Posted by Ian Fraser

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