Tag Archives: Temple Newsam House

Making Connections through Collections

I like writing (given the time), and sticking pictures in the text makes it all seem aesthetically pleasing. Yet, I wondered very briefly what it would be like to have some other media to ‘decorate’ the page. So I made some attempt at poking around the old internet to see what I might come across.

This piece from The Art Institute Chicago, was intriguing. This is a secretary cabinet by Giles Grendey (1693-1780) a cabinetmaker originally from Gloucestershire, England who on moving to London became a sought after craftsman through exceptional networking and involvement with the export trade. The secretary cabinet is in a style which sees a sort of marriage of Rococo and Chinoiserie in its scroll motifs and scarlet and gold lacquered decoration. The video offers a stunning view of how the piece functioned as well as allowing that all important view of the inside!

This piece is significant because it formed part of a now celebrated commission made during the 1730s by Grendey for the Duke of Infantado’s castle at Lazcano. The commission consisted of around 77 pieces of furniture, the majority of which remained in situ until the 1930s before being purchased directly by Adolph Loewi an art and antiques collector and dealer based in Venice. Loewi acquired 72 pieces – 50 single chairs and 12 armchairs; 2 day-beds; 2 pairs of mirrors; a pair of candlestands; a card table and a tripod tea table.

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A late 19th century photograph of the salon at Lazcano (reproduced in Gilbert, Furniture at Temple Newsam House and Lotherton Hall)

Eventually these pieces were widely dispersed, however it is possible to track a great deal of them to public collections such as The Art Institute Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York, Rosen’s Collection at Caramoor, and Temple Newsam House in Leeds.

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Scarlet japanned armchair, part of the Infantado commission by Grendey. Temple Newsam House, Leeds (reproduced in Gilbert, Furniture at Temple Newsam House and Lotherton Hall)

Parts of the original commission and other pieces by Grendey appear in auction catalogues all over the world. Some of which have sprung from private collections. In April and December 1971, Antiques magazine listed the whereabouts of pieces from the Infantado commission. On failing miserably at finding affordable copies of these, my only consolation is that much of the provenance has changed anyway since then.

Giles Grendey

Giles Grendey practiced as an apprentice in London between 1709 and 1716, and by the 1730s was working independently from St John’s Square, Clerkenwell. While he did not publish a furniture pattern book, he is better known than many of his contemporaries because he frequently labelled his furniture. Craftsmen working for Grendey also left their initials on pieces.  Grendey’s tendency to label furniture is certainly a reflection of his active participation in the export market and the suite of furniture made for the Duke of Infantado is specially styled to appeal to someone with opulent taste. Pieces like the secretary cabinet for example have flat surfaces to allow for decorative treatment, but they also carry an awkward and perhaps archaic mixture of styles which were typical of native Spanish furniture of the time as seen in the heavy curved pediment and ‘bun’ feet.

They are stunning pieces of furniture and are worth looking at ‘in the flesh’ even if the now faded exterior colour still clashes with our understanding of fashionable modern (and often muted) interiors and appears rather brash to our modern eyes.

References.

Christopher Gilbert, Furniture at Temple Newsam House and Lotherton Hall (1978) Also, Gilbert lists the following as relevant literature:

Connoisseur, June 1964, p.120

Collector’s Guide, January 1971, p.68

‘Furniture by Giles Grendey for the Spanish Trade’, Antiques April 1971, pp.544-550

G. Wills, English Furniture 1550-1760, 1971, p. 130

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The Attingham Trust 60th Anniversary Conference, 12th and 13th October 2012

Attingham Park House

After a particularly tough house move in the second week of October, the weekend brightened with attendance at The Attingham Trust 60th Anniversary Conference – ‘Looking Ahead: The Future of the Country House’. Always slightly anxious that I might not have my ‘clever head’ engaged at these sorts of things, I was relieved to discover many familiar faces amongst the delegates.

I attended on the Saturday of the conference. Whilst I know those involved with The Attingham Trust will be reading, this was not without purpose. Certainly, I work through the week, but I was intrigued far more by the papers on offer that day. Split into four sessions, the first theme encompassed the ownership of mainly British country houses by national institutions and local authorities. The second looked at the Irish country house particularly in light of funding and a nation’s tumultuous history. The third was, for me, a proper introduction to the ‘historic house’ in the United States, with the final session examining the position of the country house in Australia.

The previous day would have given me the opportunity to hear Tim Knox – Director of the Sir John Soane’s Museum, interview John Harris – author and architectural historian about country house snooping, or Giles Waterfield from The Attingham Trust interview Julian Fellowes. Attending as I did on the Saturday only, I felt I had missed a great deal. And not surprisingly, Downton Abbey was thus quite high on the agenda!

Julian Fellowes (centre) with Elizabeth McGovern and Hugh Bonneville, copyright The Sun

So conspicuous was the latter that I fully understood the intense fever of the ITV period drama outside of the comfort of my own living room. Whenever I tell people what I ‘do’, their eyes light up. Inevitably, Downton Abbey enters the conversation and I am required to smile sweetly whilst all the time supporting their idea that country houses at the turn of the 20th century were ALL like this. Yet, I am not attempting to bite my nose off to spite my face. Downton Abbey has certainly earned its place in the discourse of the country house. It is glossy, television-land escapism – the perfect ingredient for a Sunday evening, and although I do watch it occasionally (given the chance at all), I feel I already know these stories.

Downton Abbey has brought the country house to the masses and has provided a generalised interpretation which encourages people to understand a little more about life in the country house. For several years this has been one of the main objectives of institutions in charge of historic houses. However, there is still a divide of interest amongst those involved in making decisions on how houses should be presented, marketed and cared for. The social history of the country house is still a relatively new ingredient to the visitor experience, but there are those who wish to cling to the old trends surrounding architecture and collections.

At the Attingham conference these ideals were definitely tangled up together within thoughts on the future of the country house. This is typically a British symptom of class and the need to categorise our heritage and the people who should and could visit sites. Anna Keay (now at The Landmark Trust) provided her personal take on visiting a site with her children who were immediately pounced upon by overbearing room attendants. I know this feeling well, and appreciate the need for a velvet rope to provide physical boundaries for my own child in such circumstances! That Keay made a swift apology for the inclusion of an image of herself with her children was frankly strange. But then, so too did Lisa White (Chairman of the National Trust Arts Panel) when she included a picture of National Trust marketing which incorporated children playing in the grounds of a country house. The educational aspect of the future of the country house was therefore made obvious by its absence.

The Attingham Trust is the finest of academies from which to study the country house. And whilst its Summer School remains exclusive to those already working in museums, art galleries or with a conservation body, it provides a fantastic platform from which debates of this nature can arise. This was why I decided to attend the conference on the Saturday.

As the papers moved away from matters of British ownership, but still within the boundaries of historic house management and collections, there was an air of optimism which hadn’t been so prevalent in the first session. Both Terence Dooley and Kevin Baird, as representatives of the Irish country house, spoke with charm and enthusiasm about the sites under their guardianship. Plus there was no apology for the inclusion of images portraying children examining objects or peering over reconstructed period dress. Moving onto the later sessions, this mood remained. Admittedly, this could have been the chance for many of the speakers to promote their work, their heritage sites and indeed their part of the world to a largely British audience, but there were many themes I would be interested in covering here. I was particularly intrigued by Craig Hanson’s paper (Associate Professor, Calvin College, Michigan) which noted the activities of women as private citizens during the 1850s onwards for establishing preservation societies and associations in the United States. This was an entirely new concept for me, but one which had clearly resonated with American women like Nancy Lancaster in the 20th century.

By the time Professors Gini Lee and Mark Taylor came to give their respective papers on the Australian country house, the number of delegates had shrunk. Perhaps noticeably, but having watched people leave in dribs and drabs between papers, I was a little disheartened by the change. Understandably it had been a long day, nonetheless, there were some interesting points made, especially given Lee’s own academic background in landscape architecture and interior design, and so this was a refreshing stance on a subject about which many probably knew very little.

Attingham newsletter from 2011

Overall, it was matters of funding that were at the heart of the conference. Visitor experiences, educational outreach, research, acquisitions, and housekeeping all require funding. Heritage is currently suffering from a mixed bag of opportunities which has pushed country house management to extremes. Jeremy Musson (Architectural Historian and TV Presenter) highlighted the plight of one of my favourite houses, Temple Newsam in Leeds, which is struggling under the weight of years of unpredictable local authority ownership. Many houses, both here in Britain as well as abroad have had important cultural legacies established through decades of well-meaning curatorial departments, conservation teams and front-of-house staff. Things have not always been done properly and layers of bad interpretation have had to be stripped back (or re-applied) in order to meet contemporary trends in country house presentation and purpose. By trashing, or at least procrastinating about the past ideals and hard work of those is to forget what history is meant to do. It is therefore unforgivable to see a measly £10,000 set aside for one heritage department merrily scrapped from a budget because it is deemed unimportant or no longer financially viable. There is, or course, no quick fix and every house has its own requirements; like running a business, some demand heavy footfall, while others simply want their stories telling.

The Attingham Trust 60th Anniversary Conference was indeed a great place to shake hands over drinks and to chat with old friends, but it put things into perspective. We need to imagine ourselves in the future already, and to be looking back on how we encouraged those funding bodies to accept the necessity for heritage in its many forms. Places need not become corporate and soulless, but they do need to recognise the expectations and aspirations of those with an inkling of interest in the country house – whether this has its foundations in Downton Abbey or otherwise. The country house audience is changing, and in competing for funding many institutions probably feel overwhelmed in choosing what to present to the public. These are businesses which are uniquely contained within the buildings that defines them and the work they do and so without them the businesses would dissolve. Accepting change is the first part, passing this notion on is pivotal to the future of the country house.

Links:

Full link to the conference programme http://www.attinghamtrust.org/60th-anniversary-conference/programme.pdf and transcriptions of all the papers given here http://www.attinghamtrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Conference-Papers1.pdf

The Attingham Trust Newsletter page http://www.attinghamtrust.org/at_newsletter.html

There was a report produced by The Attingham Trust in 2004 entitled OPENING DOORS: LEARNING IN THE HISTORIC ENVIRONMENT which ‘examined the educational provision in a wide range of historic buildings and sites across the British Isles and the Irish Republic. It makes numerous recommendations to Government and to other bodies for improvements in an active but fragmented and heavily under-resourced field.’ Currently the link is not working, but it would make for good reading. It is available to purchase as a book from the Attingham Trust.

Further reading and links in connection with some of the papers given:

Pevsner Architectural Guides http://yalebooks.co.uk/pevsner.asp

Historic Houses Association http://www.hha.org.uk/

The Buccleuch Group and Estates http://www.buccleuch.com/

Burghley House http://www.burghley.co.uk/

Jeremy Musson http://www.jeremymusson.com/

Centre for the Study of Historic Irish Houses and Estates http://historicirishhouses.ie/

Newport Preservation Society http://www.newportmansions.org/

The Royal Oak Foundation http://www.royal-oak.org/index.php

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Women’s History Month.

          The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of women whose commitment to nature and the planet have proved invaluable to society.   (Taken from The Library of Congress website for Women’s History Month)

          Women’s History Month is not something generally celebrated in Britain – we are an apathetic sort by nature – and the idea of having a single month every year out of a whole twelve of them seems a little odd to celebrate 50 (or more) percent of the world’s population. Still, the country house and its relative subject areas are perfectly ripe for discussion on great female contribution. Not all wives and daughters were submissive creatures housing simple notions of motherhood and companionship, many could be forthright individuals who made life interesting for themselves and all around them. Furthermore, female servants were not always young delicate nymphs with idle streaks, as some were resilient country women who were proud hard-working people living away from their families and friends. There were women who grew up in a country house and made a difference to the wider world, but Women’s History Month has at its heart the celebration of female strength and diversity.

          In all my research over the years, several of those I’ve written about require greater attention. Often there are insufficient records to allow for deeper exploration, and you have to imagine what these people were like without documented proof. A favourite example however, was a woman called Isabella Ingram nee Machell (c.1670-1764) an heiress from Sussex who lived at Temple Newsam in Leeds as wife to the third Viscount Irwin (1666-1702) and her personal maid Mildred Batchelor. Some of Isabella’s personal papers have survived to this day and reveal Isabella to have been a somewhat diplomatic character; an interventionist, as well as intelligent, earnest and pragmatic. Mildred was her female companion who she may have employed once established in her Leeds home. She too was earthy, diplomatic and intelligent.

Isabella, Viscountess Irwin, nee Machell (1670-1764) attributed to John Closterman.

          Isabella was married to Arthur Ingram in about 1685, and although their families probably secured the match, their relationship was incredibly affectionate. Her portrait depicts her as fair and beautiful following not only the contemporary conventions of beauty, but even those of today. The portrait of Arthur shows him to have been a robust sportsman surrounded by his hounds and meaty game. These pictorial depictions are not far from the characters offered up by the surviving documentation. There was an air of refinement about Isabella which Arthur did not have, and their correspondence suggests their relationship was definitely based on opposites attract.

          Isabella and Arthur had nine sons until Arthur’s premature death in 1702. As a trustee and executor of her husband’s estate she was able to live at Temple Newsam. She chose not to remarry, perhaps in order to keep a close eye on her sons’ affairs. Isabella kept meticulous accounts, and scrutinised the daily household account books, signing each yearly summary. Her own pocket book demonstrates a careful nature, but also highlights her small extravagances such as losses at the card table, the purchase of ribbons and lace, and fine shoes. On the other hand, she was charitable and generous with those around her and would assist in the payment of a servant’s funeral expenses, or the cost of nursing a sick servant using her own cash. Isabella was also typically practical for an elite housewife of the time, and she got involved in the general running of the house, as well as monitoring the estate activities.

          Isabella had just become a mother again at the time of her husband’s death, and for a while she became very dependant upon her closest friends and most reliable servants. As well as the steward John Roades, Mildred Batchelor was one of these, and eagerly stepped up to help her mistress in household affairs. In particular, Mildred gave Isabella support when it came to the personal needs of the nine boys: arranging for their transport to school and ordering their clothing and laundry. There are surviving scraps of correspondence between the two women, and although they contain important notes concerning the health of Isabella’s sons or general household matters, there is a friendly tone to them. Their friendship was certainly strong, even when Mildred left service to marry John Roades in 1707. The following year she had a child for whom Isabella offered herself as godmother, and Mildred was never far away if her old mistress required some assistance.

          By 1718, Isabella decided to give up her residency at Temple Newsam after the marriage of her second son to a daughter of the Earl of Carlisle at Castle Howard. From her new home in Windsor, Isabella could manage the schooling of her younger boys but still remain in contact with her family in Yorkshire. Her sons held her in considerable awe and she could be extremely ill-tempered if crossed. Isabella even threatened the older boys with litigation in order to protect the interests of the younger ones. A quarrel with her second eldest son over payments of legacies to his younger siblings angered Isabella and she made her feelings clear in every which way possible. She even annotated a letter intended as a conciliatory device by the Temple Newsam steward with, ‘Friendly advice to give up my just writ from an ungrateful son wholly governed by ye proud house of ye Howards who never served anybody but for their own interest’.

          Isabella lived to be 94 years old. Perhaps this longevity could be put down to plenty of tea drinking in her lifetime, as her accounts testify to her varied consumption of several types of tea. With the birth of nine children, she was certainly a strong woman though, and definitely a formidable character. If you were fortunate to find good footing with her, she was undoubtedly a friend for life. Mildred Batchelor remained in Yorkshire, but it is likely she stayed in contact with Isabella after the latter moved to Windsor. There is patchy correspondence after this date, and whilst Isabella maintained her personal accounts and left documentation behind, Mildred disappeared into obscurity. Her life was more conventional in that she worked, became a wife, and then a mother and supported her husband. It could be suggested that Isabella allowed Mildred a brief historical presence in her surviving records, but this is no bad thing. The two women supported each other for several years, indeed Mildred was Isabella’s ‘right-hand woman’, so perhaps Isabella has been able to repay her with a different kind of longevity.

          Isabella was not a compliant submissive creature. Mildred was not a flighty servant girl. The women were great companions of similar ages who existed in each other’s lives when they needed each other the most; a country house enabled their partnership to evolve.

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Country House Amenities; Part I, Lighting with Candles.

A selection of candle holders 1700-1800.

Creamware candlestick. Leeds or Staffordshire 1770s-1780s.

This is the first of a series of four posts concerned with the particulars of running the country house through lighting, heating and cleaning. Their purpose is to bring together several sources in order to demonstrate how the country house operated at a domestic level, and perhaps in a way we might hope to understand today. As visitors we see the grandeur of the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the plush clutter of the nineteenth century and steady modernisation of the twentieth century, and yet we often ask how architectural arrangements affected daily routines. Many houses have opened their servants’ halls, butler’s pantries, or nurseries for the public to view over the past two decades, but many struggle within the laws of health and safety to reconstruct the ‘feel’ of daily living. Of course, as visitors we cannot expect to stay overnight in drafty chambers, clean our hands and feet in wash basins, read by candlelight, or sit by open fires but we can understand the needs of past generations in creating warm, well-lit, clean and secure homes.  For the social microcosm that is the country house, these needs were expensive to achieve and demanded a great deal of manual labour.

Cut glass chandelier from Uppark, Sussex. Possibly made by Christopher Haedy, 1770s.

This post is a glimpse at how developments in artificial lighting changed the way in which the country house operated. There are four components to the history of lighting in the home; candle (naked flame), oil, gas, and electricity. The apparatus of which are usually still visible in some country houses, but in most cases have been swept away. There is a lot to be covered within this topic, so I shall begin with the humble candle!

I am most grateful to Anthony Wells-Cole and James Lomax whose knowledge of the Temple Newsam collections in Leeds have proved invaluable for this subject matter and the lighting of the country house generally.

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The Candle

The types of candle lighting; Spermaceti, the best were made from the fatty white substance found in the head of the sperm whale and produced a clear white smokeless flame; Beeswax produced a clear smokeless flame with an indifferent smell, and initially used only in churches; Tallow, the most common type of candle was made from the hard white fat found around the kidneys and caul of animals (mainly beef cattle and sheep), but they produced an inferior flame as well as a foul smell in comparison to the more expensive spermaceti and beeswax candles; Rushlight or dip candle, was the poor man’s candle and was an ancient method of producing light made from the pithy part of a peeled rush dipped, often repeatedly, into hot liquid animal fat in order to build up layers around the wick.

A selection of rushlight holders with decorative hinged arms. The dipped rush would be held between the pincer-like nib. The holder third from right also has a candle socket.

The best thing when writing about the lighting equipment associated with the country house is that almost all these varieties would have been present at some point. Rushlights or hand-dipped candles were an ancient device and would have still been used by some servants when rising before daylight and completing their evening duties. They would also have been the presence of rushlights throughout dark basement corridors. On average they would burn for about fifteen to twenty minutes, and would need constant attention in order for the rush to be drawn up through the holder. Wax and tallow candles formed the backbone of the lighting industry from the Middle Ages with each having their own guild but with vastly different costs in the retail value of their produce. Influenced by specific laws on production and pricing, wax and tallow candles eventually fell foul of Customs and Excise when in 1709 a tax was introduced on all English and imported candles; the rate at this time on wax was fourpence per pound, and one halfpenny per pound on tallow.

In attempts to keep costs down in the country house, many candles were made from estate produce. In other instances, pure wax could be obtained from the open market, including scented and coloured waxes from the Colonies. At Castle Howard, Isabella Carlisle noted the cost of essentials in her own abstract of the household accounts between 1744 and 1755. ‘Fire and Candle’ as categorised by Isabella, came to £13 02s 00d for one week in May 1745,  £5 17s 2d for one week in October 1748 and £5 2s 3d for one week in July 1753. Clearly the times of year and special occasions had a marked affect upon the costs of heating and lighting this particular country house.

In the country house, like any home, the tallow candle had to be carefully stored as they were apt to rot. The housekeeper would have had this responsibility as she had access to the main dry store. She might have had a large box

Candle box 19th century (part of the Temple Newsam collection, Leeds Museums and Galleries)

as well as free standing cupboards and cabinets to keep a range of candles in. In other instances rooms may have had cylindrical tin boxes which were hung high on the wall – to keep the rats out – for the storage of tallow candles. Moreover, in her book of housekeeping, Susanna Whatman noted that the first thing a housekeeper should teach a new servant was to carry her candle upright, since it was no good wasting taxed consumables when the wax stub could be reused in lighting fires. Such careful action also stopped hot wax dripping to the carpets and floor boards.

From the second half of the eighteenth century, and with the rise of the whaling industry, a new kind of wax candle began to appear on the London market – the spermaceti candle. These were the best candles, and were initially more expensive than beeswax candles. The wax and spermaceti candles would have been used by the family, but probably reserved for special occasions. In the first half of the nineteenth century Elizabeth, Lady Breadalbane instructed her servants that, ‘all pieces of spermaceti candles to be collected by the under Butler and given over to the Housekeeper at least once a fortnight for the lanterns and the lighting of fires.’  The expense of these candles also dictated their recyclable qualities.

The candle tax was abolished in 1831, the beginning of the decade which also marked another key event in the history of lighting – the invention of the friction match. Previously, the method of striking a light involved the ignition of tinder with a sharp flint struck against another metal. Tinder was extremely dry linen or flax and other highly inflammable materials kept in special boxes at the hearthside or in designated stores again accessed by the housekeeper, butler or footmen.

Most rooms would have been lit by portable candlesticks and holders, which is why many rooms in country houses have not been adapted for ceiling lighting. This form of portable light was perpetuated well into the days of gas and electric lighting in many homes. Types of candlestick however were signifiers of wealth, and the materials they were made from covered a vast spectrum including cheap metals, ceramics, silver, a variety of woods, marble and glass.

One of a pair of girandoles supplied by James Pascall to Temple Newsam in 1745.

In the more public spaces and state apartments the permanent fixtures for candle lighting are the chandeliers, sconces, tourchieres and girandoles. The word ‘chandelier’ comes from the French ‘chandelles’ (tallow candles) and was understood from the fifteenth century, but became more common at the end of the seventeenth century. In the country house inventory a chandelier as we understand it may be written as ‘branches’, or ‘hanging candlesticks’. Sconce also has origins in French and has been understood to mean the cover provided by the attachment fixing the candle socket or holder to the wall. Tourchiere is again of French origin and simply means torch and more specifically the apparatus providing upward lighting. The origin of the word girandole seems more charming in comparison and comes from the French (as a derivative of the Italian verb girare ‘to turn’ and ‘girandola’ a rotating firework similar to the UK Catherine Wheel); the setting of candle sockets on a girandole, often backed by a mirror displays a spiralling pattern and thus a turning sparkle of light.

If the rushlight and sparing use of tallow represented the servants’ domain then so too were there degrees of opulance above stairs. Brass chandeliers were being used from the fifteenth century. Gilded wood and glass chandeliers were making an appearance by the first half of the eighteenth century, but the most extravagant and awesome of chandeliers were those of silver or crystal. Of course cleaning these would be considered both a tremendous and perilous job by the housemaids and a tense time for the upper servant. At twentieth-century Brodsworth Hall, Sylvia Grant-Dalton would announce when it was time to clean the glass crystals of the drawing room chandeliers ‘when they’d lost their glitter’, a phrase which would send shivers of apprehension throughout the servant hierarchy.

The colour of the room also mattered and may explain why whites and cool colours were preferable (as well as fashionable) before the 1800s and the introduction of gas and electricity. Isaac Ware noted in 1746 that a room ‘which if wainscoted [panelled] will take six candles to light it, will in stucco [plastered] require eight or if hung [papered] ten’ (Complete Body or Architecture). The decorative finishes were crucial in recognising the potential of lighting the space. The dark pannelling we see today is the result of age – or the nineteenth-century romantic disposition, since these woods would have been fairly pale and would have offered a warm glow next to candle light. The depth of colour produced by wallpapers in the large country house merely reinforced the conspicuous consumption of its owner. Its matt finish or dark flocking required extra candles, but the sparkle would have been tremendous and deliberately impressive for any visitor.

A pair of ormolu candelabra, originally part of the collection at Longleat house, Wiltshire, late eighteenth century (Christie's image copyright)

Today, candles are a different kind of necessity becoming our main source of light when the electricity sub-station fails or a mains fuse has blown. Otherwise they help set a specific mood with their scented qualities or romantic glow. But we are no longer governed by sunrise and sunset hours, so our stash of tealights and stubby candles remain tucked away in boxes with torches and spare batteries, or stored lovingly in the bathroom or dining room for intimate or familiar scenarios. Providing light for the home outside the hours of daylight was a cautious process before gas and powerful electric lighting. It recalls the comments of actors in period dramas when they complain about the restriction of dress compared to their modern-day clothing. When the electricity does blow, it’s hard work especially without a proper candleholder (an old wine bottle might have to suffice in most situations), and ensuring wax doesn’t spill on the floor normally means waxy fingertips. Yet, it’s the movement from room to room which proves unappealing without a working light switch. The skills and levels of ingenuity we’ve lost to electric power are numerous, and understanding the gratitude felt towards a single flame is forgotten. In the country house, the necessity of candlelight for the early riser to the opulence of several burning and glistening candles suggests great variety of function, and yet a single flame offered any individual some peace of mind.

References:

Jacqueline Fearn, Domestic Bygones. Shire Publications (2nd edition 1999).

Mark Girouard, Life in the English Country House (1978)

Christina Hardyment, Home Comfort: A History of Domestic Arrangements (1992)

Pamela Sambrook, The Country House Servant (1999)

John Vince, The Country House: How it Worked (1991)

Merlin Waterson, The Servants’ Hall: A Domestic History of Erdigg (1980)

Susanna Whatman, The Housekeeping Book of Susanna Whatman. (1776) Introduced by Christina Hardyment. The National Trust (1997).

Temple Newsam Country House Studies, number 4, (text by Anthony Wells-Cole), Country House Lighting (1992)

Links:

Achieving the candle-lit look in the present day http://ntenvironmentalwork.net/2011/11/01/led-candle-bulbs-measure-a-hundred-times-cut-only-once/

The National Trust, The Argory, County Armagh and the history of lighting the country house http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-the__argory_lighting__list.pdf (2010).

Lighting the American home by candlelight http://www.candlecomfort.com/historyofcandles.html

The Geffrye Museum, London. http://www.geffrye-museum.org.uk/collections/thematics/

Country Life article on the history of domestic lighting http://www.countrylife.co.uk/property/article/528152/From-fish-oil-to-chandeliers-early-domestic-lighting.html

Lighting the Victorian home, with attention on Linley Sambourne House in London http://www.buildingconservation.com/articles/lighting/lighting.htm

Fantastic blog on the practicalities of domestic routine. This post relates to rushlights or dip candles  http://www.oldandinteresting.com/rushlights.aspx

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Filed under Architecture and Design, Servants, The running of the country house

Thomas Chippendale Country House Commissions 1757-1779

'Violin' bookcase made for the Earl of Pembroke 1763, Wilton House.

          Having written very recently on the late eighteenth-century inventory of Harewood House, Yorkshire, I thought this might be a useful adage to the Thomas Chippendale pool of knowledge! Although Chippendale, and his son Thomas Chippendale the Younger are well-known names – often overwhelmingly so, their craftsmanship still receives great interest. The following list is not exhaustive and there may be houses which have been wrongly linked with Chippendale, but I am dependant on a mixture of old and relatively up-to-date sources – besides I am no Chippendale expert!

         As F. Gordon Roe points out in Old English Furniture, ‘…the tendency to label almost everything of certain types ‘Chippendale’ has robbed other leading craftsmen or designers of their due share of credit … On the other hand, some writers have perhaps tended unduly to minimize Chippendale’s importance, for though it is obvious that his firm could not have produced more than a fraction of the work so freely assigned to it, he was evidently a craftsman of outstanding merit.’ (p. 9) Not every commission was extensive, and some patrons may have desired only one or two pieces for their remodelled library or state rooms, others demanded entire suites of furniture. In either case, we should remember that Chippendale was not a lone craftsman and may rarely have even touched the pieces which left his London workshop.

THE HOUSES.

  • Alscot Park, Warwickshire, for James West, 1760-67.
  • Appuldurcombe House, Isle of Wight, for Sir Richard Worsley 1776-78. (Only the shell remains and is now owned by English Heritage).
  • Arniston, Midlothian, for Lord and Lady Arniston, 1757.
  • Aske Hall, Yorkshire, for Sir Laurence Dundas 1763-66.
  • Audley End, Essex, for Sir John Griffin, 1774.
  • Badminton House, Gloucestershire for the Duchess of Beaufort, 1764.
  • Blair Castle, Perthshire, for the Duke of Athol, 1758.
  • ? Boynton Hall, Yorkshire, for Sir George Strickland, 1768?
  • Brockenhurst Park, Hampshire, for Edward Morant, 1769.
  • Brocket Hall, Hertfordshire, for Lord Melbourne, 1771-76.
  • Burton Constable, Yorkshire, for William Constable, 1768-79 (also for his London home in Mansfield Square).
  • Cannon Hall, Yorkshire, for John Spencer, 1768.
  • Corsham Court, Wiltshire, for Paul Methuen, 1779.
  • Croome Court, Worcestershire, for the Earl of Coventry, 1764-70 (also his London home 29 Piccadilly).
  • Dalmahoy, Midlothian, for the 14th Earl of Morton, 1762.
  • Dalton Hall, Yorkshire, for Charles Hotham-Thompson, 1777.
  • Denton Park, Otley, Yorkshire, for James Ibbetson (Chippendale’s only commission within his own parish).
  • Dumfries House, Ayrshire, for the 5th Earl of Dumfries, 1759-66.
  • ? Firle Place, Sussex, for Sir Thomas Gage, 1770s?
  • Foremark Hall, Derbyshire, for Sir Robert Burdett, 1766-74.
  • Goldsborough Hall, Yorkshire, for Daniel Lascelles 1771-76.
  • Goodneston, Kent, for Sir Brook Bridges, 1765.
  • Harewood House, Yorkshire, for Edwin Lascelles, 1769-76.
  • Hestercombe House, Somerset, for Coplestone Ware Bamfylde, no date.
  • Langton Hall, Yorkshire, for Thomas Norcliffe, 1767.
  • Kenwood House, Middlesex, for the 1st Ealr of Mansfield, 1769.
  • Mersham le Hatch, Kent, for Sir Edward Knatchbull, 1767-79.
  • Newby Hall, Yorkshire, for William Weddell, c.1772-76.
  • Normanton Park, Rutland, for Sir Gilbert Heathcote 1768-79.
  • Nostell Priory, Yorkshire, for Sir Rowland Winn 1766-79 (also his London home 11 St James’s Square).
  • Paxton House, Berwickshire, for Ninian Home ,1774.
  • Petworth House, Sussex, for the Earl of Egremont, 1777-78.
  • Saltram House, Devon, for Lord Boringdon, 1771.
  • Sandon Hall, Staffordshire, for the Earl of Harrowby, 1763-77.
  • Sherbourne Castle, Dorset, for Earl Digby, 1774.
  • Stourhead House, Wiltshire, for Sir Richard Colt Hoare (Thomas Chippendale the Younger, 1790s).
  • Stowe House, Buckinghamshire, for Earl Temple, 1757.
  • Temple Newsam House, Yorkshire, for Viscount Irwin 1774 (and Chippendale the Younger, 1790s).
  • Thoresby Park, Nottinghamshire, for the Duke of Kingston, 1770.
  • Wilton House, Wiltshire, for the Earl of Pembroke 1762-73 (also his London home Pembroke House).
  • Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire, for the Earl of Hardwicke, 1777.
  • Wolverley House, Worcestershire, for Edward Knight Jnr., 1763-69.

Japanned wardrobe, Nostell Priory.

Half round or sidetables made for Denton Hall, now on display at Temple Newsam.

Bookcase at Dumfries House

References:

Oliver Brackett, Thomas Chippendale: A Study of His Life, Work, and Influence(1924). The Burlington Magazine. Vol. 122, No. 927, (June, 1980). 
 
Anthony Coleridge, Chippendale Furniture: The Work of Thomas Chippendale and His Contemporaries in the Rococo Taste (1968).
 
Christopher Gilbert, The Life and Work of Thomas Chippendale,(1978).Peter Ward-Jackson, English Furniture Designs of the Eighteenth Century (1958).
 
Clifford Musgrave, Adam and Hepplewhite and Other NeoClassical Furniture (1966).
 
 
Links:
 
Thomas Chippendale on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Chippendale
 
Thomas Chippendale. The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director: being a large collection of the most elegant and useful designs of household furniture in the Gothic, Chinese and modern taste. (1754). Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture. University of Wisconsin.  http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/DLDecArts/DLDecArts-idx?id=DLDecArts.ChippGentCab

The Chippendale Society http://www.thechippendalesociety.co.uk/index.htm

Useful biography of Thomas Chippendale (in need of modernising!) http://216.92.23.157/chippendale/chronology.htm

Ronald Phillips Antiques – fantastic images of Chippendale furniture  http://www.ronaldphillipsantiques.com/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabid=5&categoryID=7777

Learn the Chippendale way! http://www.chippendale.co.uk/

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Temple Newsam House, Leeds

 

Temple Newsam House (author's own image)

       I want to start with Temple Newsam House, Leeds because without a doubt it is a local authority gem, and mainly as I used to work there! Described in the current guidebook as ‘one of the great historic houses of England, famous as the birthplace of Lord Darnley, husband of Mary Queen of Scots in 1545, and sometimes called “The Hampton Court of the North”‘.

  
       The land here belonged to the Knights Templar in the early Middle Ages; a connection which gives the ‘Temple’ prefix. The house on the current site was originally built by Thomas Lord Darcy. Begun as a courtyard house with a gateway to the north in about 1480, it was probably completed by c.1520. Darcy’s involvement in The Pilgrimage of Grace led to his execution for treason in 1537, and the house passed to the Crown. It was then presented as a gift by Henry VIII to his niece Lady Lennox and her husband, whose son Lord Darnley was born and brought up here. However, Lady Lennox’s schemes to see her bloodline on the English throne once again saw the house confiscated by the Crown. 
 
       Eventually the original Tudor building fell into decay until it was ‘rescued’ by Sir Arthur Ingram in 1622 when he bought it from a descendant of the Lennox family for £12,000. He extensively remodelled the old Tudor courtyard house by demolishing the east wing and rebuilding the north and south wings; uniting the whole with an external inscription in the stone balustrade. 
 
       Ingram’s descendants lived here for the next 300 years, when in 1922 the house and parkland were sold to the Leeds Corporation. Rather tragic for the time, the then owner the Hon. Edward Wood offered the contents for an extra £10,000 but the Corporation declined and many of the goods were dispersed. A few items were left in the house as a gift to the citizens of Leeds, and several lots were purchased at the sale in order to furnish a caretaker’s flat!
 
        In 1923 the house opened to the public with new visitor routes added internally. The house developed as an art museum over the next few decades until the late 1970s when Leeds City Council and curatorial staff began the slow road to refurbishment in order to establish Temple Newsam as both a fine and decorative arts and country house museum. Some of the original treasures have been rediscovered and bought back; often placed in their original settings throughout the house according to inventories and sale catalogues.
 
       Today Temple Newsam House contains many rich collections on wallpapers, textiles, silver and ceramics. There are fine pieces of Thomas Chippendale (and the Younger) furniture too, as well as what is considered to be the most significant part of the furniture collection – the suite of gallery seats by James Pascall, repatriated in 1939 when it was bought from the Hon Edward Wood to enliven the beautiful yet sparse Picture Gallery space in the north wing.
 
 

The Picture Gallery 2008 (author's own image)

 
       I worked at Temple Newsam House for five years whilst studying for my research degree. Many of the staff are fantastic and there are always educational activities and holiday workshops. A few years ago there was a severe restructuring of Leeds City Council and a few museum and gallery staff found their jobs had been put asunder. Attitudes and opinions have changed throughout local authority owned museums and galleries where restructure and finances have been at the forefront of management. And so, with the speedy cuts being made in the current economic climate to our public services, I fear that the modern faces of Temple Newsam will be changing again. 
Links: The Leeds City Council website for Temple Newsam www.leeds.gov.uk/templenewsam. This is quite comprehensive, and I definitely recommend using this as a source for learning a great deal more about the house, its owners and collections. Contacts for the house are;
 
Temple Newsam House
Leeds
LS15 0AE
House: 0113 2647321
(Please note that 0113 2645535 is the general estate number you may find in publications and websites.)
 
(And for a bit of laugh: www.hauntedleeds.co.uk/templenewsam.htm )

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