Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Chintz Bedroom

I just wanted to clarify that the Chinese wallpaper from Harewood House being sold at Mallett was from the Chintz Dressing Room. The other wallpaper that was found was from the Chintz Bedroom and was restored and installed at Harewood House and can be seen in these photos.

"Thomas Chippendale's commission of 1767 to 1778 to furnish Harewood House for Edwin Lascelles was not only the most valuable of his career but also the most sumptuous. The commission was for a complete decoration of the house and included the hanging of wallpaper and supplying of damask and paper. The Chippendale bill for the early years of the commission is now missing but, in 1772, £3,024 19s 3d was carried forward on to the existing bill."

"It is not possible to ascertain whether Chippendale himself provided this wallpaper, as was the case at Nostell Priory, or, as was more normal because of its rarity, whether Lascelles acquired it personally. Series of such panoramic paper became fashionable in the middle of the 18th century and were exported from China via Canton. There is but one known reference, of 1755, to paper forming part of a ship's cargo, so it is assumed that it was carried on commission by ships' captains of the East India Company, thereby avoiding the wallpaper tax."

"It is the Day Work Book kept by Lascelles' steward, Samuel Popelwell, noting how Chippendale's workmen spent their time from 1769 to 1775 which enables us to identify this wallpaper. It is recorded that a Mr James arrived at Harewood on 18th October 1769 and 'stayed until Christmas fully employed papering, unpacking and fixing furniture'. Between 14th and 16th December that year he spent twenty-eight hours 'Hanging the India paper in the Chintz pattern cotton bedchamber' and between 21st and 23rd December he spent twenty-six hours 'At the patterns in the Chintz pattern cotton room'."

"This suite of rooms with their oriental 'India' paper inspired the green japananed furniture made for them by Chippendale, comprising a clothes press, dressing commode, pier glass, shaving table, night table and two bedside tables. This furniture was recorded as still in these rooms in an inventory of 1795. However, at some time in the 19th century, probably during the remodelling of the house by Barry in the 1840's, the wallpaper was removed and put into storage." This wallpaper from the Chintz Dressing Room and the Chintz Bedroom was discovered in 1988, rolled up in the carpenter's shop at Harewood.

"The conservation report notes that the decorative painting is an early example of its type and is of extremely high quality. A great deal of the paper is still in its original condition where as many papers have suffered from years of over painting."

The East Bedroom (Chintz Bedroom) before the restoration and rehanging of the wallpaper.


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