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Diana and Minerva commode in Focus

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Professor Ann Sumner, Historic Collections Adviser, shares her research on one of the most spectacular pieces of Thomas Chippendale furniture in the Harewood collection.

The Diana and Minerva commode, 1773, usually on display in the State Bedroom, is currently displayed in the Ante Room as part of the exhibition ‘Designer, Maker, Decorator’.

The Diana and Minerva Commode is one of the most famous pieces of Thomas Chippendale furniture in the world. It is the finest of a distinguished group of marquetry furniture that was supplied to Edwin Lascelles in the 1770s for the interior of his new house at Harewood. A commode is the term used to describe an elaborate chest of drawers popularised in France, which in turn, became much desired in England too. This commode was designed as a tripartite breakfront dressing commode and is generally considered to be Chippendale’s finest Neo-Classical masterpiece, with its superb craftsmanship and the elegant lines of its distinctive rectilinear design, along with splayed sides and decorative motifs of swags of husks, repeated garlands of flowering acanthus leaves and radiating fans. The main feature is the central concave recess with superbly executed ‘trompe l’oeil’ marquetry, enabling a lady to sit in front of it and use the central compartmented drawer.

Detail showing the acanthus leaves design.

A status symbol

An extract from the original bill in which Chippendale describes the Diana and Minerva commode, 1773.

The Diana and Minerva commode was supplied for the State Dressing Room (now the Spanish Library) in November 1773 and the Harewood bill described it in much more detail than any other item for the room – ‘A very large rich Commode with exceeding fine Antique Ornaments curiously inlaid with various fine woods . . .  with Diana and Minerva and their Emblems Curiously inlaid & Engraved’. This would indicate that although it was not the most expensive item in the room, it was highly regarded by the maker who so carefully described it. Chippendale only detailed truly exceptional furniture in such terms and the use of ivory in particular was reserved for only his firm’s most sumptuous marquetry work. The cost of the commode was £86 and a protective leather cover was also supplied for a further £1 to prevent fading.

The piece takes its name from the two Roman goddesses represented in dark roundels facing each other on either side of a feminine concave central section. The first is Diana, the goddess of hunting, with her emblem of the crescent moon, bow and hunting dog, and the second is Minerva, the goddess of learning and the arts – often seen as a patron of the arts – with her helmet, spear and shield representing her interest in war. Both are appropriate for the patron Edwin Lascelles, with his patronage of the arts and enthusiasm for country pursuits. The roundels are surrounded by laurel wreaths.

Details of the two roundels containing the Roman goddesses, Diana, the goddess of hunting and Minerva, the goddess of learning and the arts.

The State Dressing Room in which this commode was situated is described as being ‘Thirty feet by twenty-four; the furniture green and gold’ with a ‘chimney-piece of white marble’ in the History of Leeds guidebook of 1797. This elegant commode would originally have been displayed to best advantage situated under a superb mirror on the pier between the two windows in this luxurious room, adjacent to the State Bedroom. The ‘very large pier Glass’ sited above the commode cost Edwin Lascelles £290. Today in the current exhibition, the mirrored display helps give an idea of how the commode would have looked with a mirror above it. The Chippendale firm further supplied two large ‘richly Carved’ sofas costing together £64, with green serge protective covers at £5 10s. There were also twelve ‘Carved Cabriole’ armchairs which matched those in the bedchamber ‘gilt in burnished Gold, Covered’, costing a further £120, with their covers at £6.6s. The walls were richly hung with green damask as in the State Bedroom, finished with an ‘Antique Border gilt in Burnished Gold’ and there was a ‘very Elegant Chimney glass’. Green was a popular colour in the 1770s and in this case, the damask had been purchased by Edwin directly, demonstrating how engaged he was in the decorating of his new home. This commode was conceived as a piece of ‘parade’ furniture, used as a symbol of status and wealth and was ‘paraded’ formally against the walls to both impress, reflect and harmonise with Robert Adam’s elaborate interior decorative scheme. Commodes quickly assumed the status of the most prestigious type of ornamental cabinet furniture. Although commissioned for the State Dressing Room, the commode is usually displayed in the State Bedroom against the green damask walls, following restoration of the room in 1999 – 2000.

Detail of the inside of the coved door.

Craftsmanship

The main carcass of the commode was made of mahogany (the most common cabinet wood used in the 18th century and favoured by Chippendale more than any other tropical wood), oak and pine. The thin veneer ground is golden satinwood from the West Indies, which would have been carefully hand-cut and inlaid with dyed exotic tropical hardwoods such as rosewood and tulipwood. The sheen of the satinwood, applied with the grain going in various directions, gives the piece a jewel-like quality, catching the light at differing angles. The pictorial roundels representing the goddesses are inlaid with expensive ebony and ivory. Some of the inlaid woods were stained a variety of colours, whilst others were finely engraved with details such as leaf veins or scorched on the edges by being dipped in hot sand to give a 3-D quality. Engraving is employed with cross-hatching applied to the precious ivory as well, to highlight facial features and areas of flesh for the goddesses. The coved door is also a unique feature in Chippendale’s work and achieved by steaming strips of mahogany to shape them, using a technique similar to barrel making. The concave sides accommodated the hanging of curtains since the commode was placed on the pier, between the windows where it was originally sited.

Detail of the central, finely executed coved door with trompe d’oeil marquetry.

The top of the commode illustrating the beautiful marquetry and the extended open compartmentalised drawer.

The exquisite marquetry top would have been reflected in the mirror above, highlighting the detailed craftsmanship. The inlay colour scheme was predominantly pink and green, but despite the protective covers, the commode has faded and originally the marquetry would have been much brighter. Overall, the high technical finish is outstanding, as is the rich ormolu decoration. It is not known if this decorative brasswork was actually made in the Chippendale workshop as possibly the casting and chasing may have been sub-contracted, although there was a forge in the premises at St Martin’s Lane which suggests that he may have employed a brazier himself. It is key to note, as has been pointed out recently by James Lomax, that the use of ormolu is restricted to the stiff leaf scrolled brackets in the entablature. Although the Diana and Minerva commode was a piece of ‘parade’ furniture, it has functional elements such as the top dressing drawer which still contains neatly fitted, lidded and boxed compartments with the original glass cosmetic bottles and comb trays, and would originally also have had a fitted mirror.

The level of craftsmanship throughout the State Dressing Room was superb, but the Diana and Minerva commode was the outstanding piece, with its eloquent marquetry designs, intricate ivory inlay and drawers that still whisper shut, demonstrating the technical brilliance of the workshop where it was produced. The classical theme of the commode reflected the image of Edwin’s home, where the ancient Roman ideal of cultivated leisure on a country estate would be enjoyed by all. In total, the cost of furnishing the State Dressing Room to this luxurious standard was over £1,000 and within this context, the Diana and Minerva commode seems particularly reasonably priced at £86. It is often compared with the Renishaw commode, originally designed by Chippendale for the Dining Room at Melbourne House in Piccadilly for Lord Melbourne, which was however never intended to be a dressing commode. There it was seen by Thomas Mouat on a tour with Chippendale’s financial partner, Thomas Haig. Mouat recalls that the commode cost £140, making it far more expensive than the Harewood Diana and Minerva commode. Of course, the price might have been exaggerated by Haig or it might have been more expensive because of the larger amount of ormolu decoration. It also differs from the Harewood commode in that holly is used as the principal veneer, which has faded. The Renishaw commode was acquired at auction in 1802 by Sir Sitwell Sitwell of Renishaw in Derbyshire, where it remains today, hence the name ‘Renishaw commode’.

As with other rooms in the house, the décor of the State Dressing Room was transformed quite quickly with the arrival of family portraits. The History of Leeds guidebook in 1797 describes the State Dressing Room, some 25 years after it was completed, as already having the famous portraits of Edwin Lascelles’ step-daughters hanging in it – ‘The pictures of the Countess of Harrington and Lady Worsley, by Sir Joshua Reynolds’ (p 102). Despite the fame and admiration for this commode today, it is not singled out in this guidebook or by early visitors to the house for particular attention or praise. The commode is part of a group of celebrated marquetry pieces at Harewood, all dating to the 1770s, including the marquetry satinwood fall-front secretaire, inset with oval medallions enclosing a classical urn and reclining figure, which can be viewed in the State Bedroom today and a magnificent semi-circular table made originally for the Yellow Drawing Room, which has emblematic heads inlaid with ebony and ivory also.

Sir Charles Barry’s alterations to the interior of Harewood produced a house well suited to the complex structure of aristocratic Victorian society and improved domestic organisation. The State Dressing Room became a breakfast room with the addition of bookshelves and was situated next to the Countess’ Sitting Room, overlooking the new parterre. With this change of function, the beautiful Diana and Minerva commode moved to the Countess’s Sitting Room, the original State Bedroom, where it remained for many years, even when this room was Princess Mary’s Sitting Room and it was used by her, as her son the 7th Earl of Harewood remembered. It has found a permanent home in the State Bedroom since the restoration of this room in 2000. For the exhibition ‘Designer, Maker, Decorator’, the commode is for the first time displayed using mirrors to show aspects of the commode to full advantage, just as the original pier mirror would have done in the State Dressing Room, enabling visitors to see the details of the design, quality of the materials used and outstanding craftsmanship in detail.

Rebecca Burton, Collections Assistant, giving visitors a rare opportunity to see the central compartmentalised drawer opened for them to view in the exhibition. See the Diana and Minerva Commode in the ‘Thomas Chippendale: Designer, Maker, Decorator’ exhibition at Harewood House until 2nd September, 2018.

With thanks to James Lomax for discussions about the Diana and Minerva commode. For a full comparison between the Diana and Minerva commode and the Renishaw commode see:

James Lomax The Panshanger Cabinets in Context, 21 July 2017, on the Firle website under House, Family and Collection articles: http://firle.com/thoughts-chippendales-pansanger-cabinets-firle-place/

Professor Ann Sumner, Historic Collections Adviser, April 2018

Look out for Ann’s next blog in May when she shares her interview with Dr Adam Bowett, Chairman of the Chippendale Soicety and more on her paper about what early visitors thought of the Chippendale interiors at Harewood when they first saw them in the late 18th century.

 

 

Blog Number 2 Friday May 11th 2018

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In her second blog of this special Chippendale 300 series sponsored by Christie’s, Professor Ann Sumner shares her experience of the 42nd Annual Symposium of the Furniture History Society which was held on Saturday 14th April 2018 and interviews Dr Adam Bowett, Chairman of the Chippendale Society about the now lost Circular Dressing Room at Harewood House.

‘That celebrated artist, Mr Chippendale of St Martin’s Lane’: new discoveries and re-evaluation in his tercentenary year

On 14th April in Leeds, at the City Art Gallery, over 130 Chippendale enthusiasts gathered to celebrate the life and work of Yorkshire’s famous cabinet maker, 300 years after his birth in nearby Otley.   In the presence of Society Chairman Sir Nicholas Goodison and his wife Judith, herself an expert on Chippendale Junior, we were warmly welcomed by the Furniture History Society Chairman Christopher Rowell (National Trust Curator of Furniture) who encouraged everyone to visit the outstanding Leeds exhibition Thomas Chippendale: A Celebration of Craftsmanship and Design. Christopher praised the new catalogue by Adam Bowett and James Lomax, which has just been published as the most important contribution to Chippendale studies since Christopher Gilbert’s great work.  The day was skilfully chaired by Lisa White, Editor of The Furniture History Society Journal with a distinguished group of furniture historians gathered from all over the country in attendance. The first paper Honouring a Local Hero: the Chippendale Society 1965 – 2018 was read for us by David Bower, as sadly James Lomax, co- curator of the exhibition, was unwell. This was followed by the first of three papers during the day focusing on the Harewood collections –  an excellent study of the original furniture for the Circular Drawing Room at Harewood.

I was fortunate enough to catch up with Dr Adam Bowett, Chairman of the Chippendale Society and co-curator of the exhibition, later that day at the symposium, to ask him a few further questions about the Furniture for the Circular Dressing Room at Harewood:-

 

Ann Sumner and Adam Bowett in discussion about the Circular Dressing Room at the 42nd Annual Symposium of the Furniture History Society at Leeds Art Gallery on 14 April 2018  Photo: Rebecca Burton

Ann: The Circular Dressing Room was swept away in the 1840s and is now a room that we do not often mention at Harewood.  Tell us about this fascinating circular space which was originally a dressing room – did its function change at all before the Victorians decided to dispense with it?

Adam: The Circular room was always something of a problem for Harewood’s architects because it was sandwiched between the main suites of State Rooms on the north and south fronts but didn’t easily link with either. Between 1758 and 1771 it was variously planned as a Gentleman’s Dressing Room, a small Dining Room, a Chapel and even a Billiards Room before ending up as a Ladies Dressing Room. It had one large window looking onto an interior court, facing east to make the best of the morning light.

Ann: Could you explain how you entered the room?

Adam: In its final form, the room acted as a dressing room to the State Bedchamber, accessible from the back of the bed alcove through two small closets. It was scarcely convenient.

 

Pier table made for the Circular Dressing Room at Harewood House, 1771 – 2.  This now belongs to the Chippendale Society and is currently on loan to the Thomas Chippendale: A Celebration of Craftsmanship and Design at Leeds Museum, having been especially conserved for the display Photo courtesy of The Chippendale Society

Ann:  You have made an in depth study of the Pier Table made for the Circular Dressing Room of 1772 which is usually on display at Temple Newsam and is now on loan from the Chippendale Society to the current exhibition.  Is it true that the table was found covered in black paint having been used as a work bench following the Victorian’s removal of it?

Adam: The table was sold from Harewood in 1976 and bought by the Chippendale Society the same year. It had been found in an outbuilding where it had apparently been used as a workbench, but the curved shape indicated that it had come from the Circular Dressing Room, where it had been recorded in inventories from 1795 onwards. The frame was covered in black paint and the marquetry of the top was badly damaged. But when the paint was removed Chippendale’s original white, blue and pink paint was found intact underneath. The marquetry top was sent away to be restored and re-varnished.

 

Digital photoshop recreation of the top surface of the pier table illustrating the original colour scheme following analysis of the organic dyes Photo: Adam Bowett.

Ann:  You have made an in depth study of the Pier Table made for the Circular Dressing Room of 1772 which is usually on display at Temple Newsam and is now on loan from the Chippendale Society to the current exhibition.  Is it true that the table was found covered in black paint having been used as a work bench following the Victorian’s removal of it?

Adam: The table was sold from Harewood in 1976 and bought by the Chippendale Society the same year. It had been found in an outbuilding where it had apparently been used as a workbench, but the curved shape indicated that it had come from the Circular Dressing Room, where it had been recorded in inventories from 1795 onwards. The frame was covered in black paint and the marquetry of the top was badly damaged. But when the paint was removed Chippendale’s original white, blue and pink paint was found intact underneath. The marquetry top was sent away to be restored and re-varnished.

 

Straight after Adam’s excellent paper it was time for me to deliver mine, introducing the Harewood commission more broadly and focusing on the early tourists and visitors and what they thought of the luxurious interiors created for Edwin Lascelles by Thomas Chippendale. I explained how popular Harewood was with country house tourists at the end of the 18th Century and quoted from family guests such as the Duchess of Northumberland, as well as referencing the thoughts of the Rev John Wesley, founder of Methodism who visited in 1779 and the pastel painter John Russell who came in 1802, and considered how guidebooks had encouraged visiting.  My paper was entitled Decorating Harwood: experiencing the Chippendale firm’s largest commission.    Future blog posts will feature my presentation in full together with an introduction to my research.

 

My contribution was followed by a paper delivered by Thomas Lange – A Chippendale Discovery at Harewood: the Mystery of the White Drawing Room, which focused on the loan of a newly discovered mirror originally from the White Drawing Room at Harewood, to the current Harewood exhibition.  Other papers in the afternoon were delivered by Chippendale scholars and connoisseurs and included a fascinating consideration of the Paxton and Wedderburn Chippendale commissions in Scotland by David Jones and Kerry Bristol’s excellent paper which considered Sir Roland Winn and his wife Sabine’s Chippendale commission to furnish 11, St James’ Square, their London townhouse, drawing on sale catalogues of 1766 and 1785, followed by an illuminating discussion of the French influence on Chippendale’s designs by Sarah Medlam.  We then heard about Chippendale’s influence in America, particularly in Philadelphia in a paper presented by Brock Jobe, of Winterthur Museum Delaware.   The day concluded with an illuminating account, delivered by Megan Aldrich examining the many myths which have grown up around Chippendale, especially during early scholarship from 1875 – 1923 when errors were repeated about his life, including the fact that he was for many years thought to have come from Worcestershire!  All the papers shed new and interesting light on Chippendale and his influence and encouraged debate and discussion.

 

The day ended with drinks at Leeds Museum and the chance for delegates to mingle and discuss the thought-provoking day before seeing the exhibition, to which Harewood House Trust has generously lent, one last time. It was a stimulating day for all who attended and a fitting celebration of the 300th anniversary of the birth of Thomas Chippendale.

 

 

Professor Ann Sumner, Historic Collections Advisor

In her next blog on 5 June, Ann celebrates Thomas Chippendale’s Baptism Day, 300 years on by introducing her research on the early reception of the Chippendale interiors at Harewood from her paper given on 14 April at the symposium. She will also be reporting on all the activities surrounding the celebrations that day to mark 300 years since the baptism of the cabinetmaker in Otley, in a further post in June.

The exhibition Thomas Chippendale 1718 – 1779: A Celebration of Craftsmanship & Design is at Leeds City Museum until 9 June; Thomas Chippendale: Designer, Maker, Decorator is at Harewood House until 2 September 2018.

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2018

A big thank you to all of our visitors and members who supported us in 2017!

We are very much looking forward to 2018 and this year, we will be doing things a little bit differently, with a changing theme for every season.

In the Spring, we will be celebrating the 300th anniversary of Chippendale’s birth. Through a series of exhibitions, events and activities, Designer, Maker, Decorator offers a new way of looking at Chippendale’s work and a story unique to Harewood. Chippendale was born just 7 miles down the road from Harewood in the town of Otley and in 1767, he received the largest commission of his career, to furnish the newly built Harewood House. The season will also include a contemporary response to Chippendale from artist Geraldine Pilgrim, with both internal and external installations.

Throughout the Summer, we will be working in creative partnership with Lord Whitney, looking at life at Harewood at the end of the First World War. Seeds of Hope will explore the life and experiences of the local community and the people who lived and worked at Harewood during this period. Featuring crops, livestock and exhibits that will take visitors back in time, we will create a picture of the Walled Garden as it was in 1918.

Towards the end of the year, our thoughts will turn to artisans, designers and the contemporary with exhibitions, installations and events that celebrate craft.

Throughout the year, we will also have an exciting range of external events taking place, from our ever-popular annual Great British Food Festival and Rolls Royce Rally, to Classic Ibiza – a new, family friendly addition to our events programme.

Look out for more details and a full programme coming shortly. We look forward to welcoming our visitors and members for this exciting year ahead when we re-open on Friday 23rd March.

The Antiques & Fine Art Fair

The Antiques & Fine Art Fair at Harewood returns to the spectacular surroundings of Harewood House at an earlier time of year, from Friday 12 to Sunday 14 May 2017. Organised by The Antiques Dealers Fair Limited, the fair is staged in a purpose-built marquee overlooking the stunning Capability Brown landscape towards the 18th century country house near Leeds in West Yorkshire, dubbed one of the great Treasure Houses of England.

The fair, supported by Knight Frank Harrogate, now in its 6th year, is a firm fixture in the diary for the discerning interior decorator or private buyer looking for distinctive, unusual and individual pieces for the home. There are around 30 exhibitors taking part, the majority being members of BADA or LAPADA, the leading UK dealers’ trade associations, and all abide by strict codes of practice.

One of the highlights of the fair is an important, possibly unique, pair of George III cast neo-classical silver vases made in London in 1792 by William Holmes, priced at £11,750 from Mary Cooke Antiques. This type of vase is extremely rare and the work of William Holmes is also scarce. These vases are particularly appropriate for Harewood, though not directly designed by Robert Adam, their form is strongly influenced by his design books and Adam worked extensively at Harewood during this period. From local silver dealer, Jack Shaw & Co of Ilkley is a Charles II lidded tankard, London 1682, POA. With London Silver Vaults dealer, Stephen Kalms Antiques also exhibiting, visitors will be spoilt for choice.

A visually interesting and decorative stand, always ablaze with light, is Fileman Antiques – one of the few specialist antique lighting and glass dealers – bringing a pair of cut glass and ormolu candelabra by F & C Osler, made around 1880, £3,200 and a pair of Regency cut glass drum base candlesticks, dated 1800, £5,000. Mark J West has a wide selection of antique and decorative glass including Art Deco vases, scent bottles and cocktail shakers. Glass has always been a highlight of fine dining and his stand has excellent examples of drinking glasses to suit all tastes. One particular decorative piece is a Biedermeier cup and saucer from Austria, c 1820, priced at £440. Carolyn Stoddart-Scott specialises in antique pottery, porcelain and decorative items with pieces by Sèvres, Worcester, Wedgwood and Coalport. For Harewood she is showing a set of six English pearlware plates decorated with peafowl, c 1800, POA.

An excellent collection of sculpture, both antique and contemporary can be found with Garret & Hurst Sculpture including Vanité, c 1886, by Henri Levasseur (1853-1934), £8,895 and Warthog by Robert Glen, £10,200. Robert Glen was born in Kenya in 1940 and his true love of the African bush has led to him to live in a simple camp with a studio in Tanzania’s Ruaha National Park, where he can sculpt and sketch the wildlife at first hand. Odyssey offers Egyptian, Greek and other antiquities from the classical period spanning thousands of years of history. This is a fascinating stand to linger over and highlights of interest include an imposing Roman portrait head of a man in fine grain marble, dated c 1st-2nd century AD. The short wavy hairstyle is typical of that sported by members of the Imperial families or military commanders of the time although the identity of this man remains a mystery. It is priced at £3,250. From a different part of the world comes an eastern Greek banded lydion (perfume container), which dates to the mid 6th century BC and was probably used to contain baccaris, a perfume base oil for which Sardis in Lydia was noted in antiquity. This attractive example of a scarce type of Greek pottery has a price tag of £450.

Jewellery at the fair is a feast for the eyes and noteworthy pieces include a sapphire and diamond ring, c1950, priced in the region of £5,000 from Anderson Jones Ltd. Floral-themed jewellery includes an Austrian amethyst, nephrite and diamond brooch in the shape of wild violets, c1930, £2,400 and a Georgian two-colour gold pansy brooch, £3,300, both from Sue Brown. For the gentleman, Howell 1870 is bringing a selection of vintage watches including a man’s steel Jaquet Droz chronograph fitted with Valjoux calibre 7753 movement, c1960, £750. Other jewellers include Plaza and Shapiro & Co.

Specialists in oak and country furniture, Melody Antiques has an excellent selection to suit every taste from a cottage to a castle. Pictures to suit every taste and pocket can be found around the fair from J Dickinson Maps & Prints, Cambridge Fine Art and Ashleigh House Fine Art.

Antiques fair ticket holders (£5 each) gain complimentary access to Harewood’s grounds, gardens and Below Stairs, as well as free parking. For an additional £5 each, (saving £11.50 on an Adult Freedom ticket), fair visitors can upgrade to see the State Rooms and the current exhibition, Victoria – a costume exhibition is open from 24 March until 29 October. Harewood House was recently used as a major set for ITV’s Victoria series. Visit www.harewood.org for more information.

Launched last year at the Harewood fair, The Antiques Dealers Fair Limited has an ongoing association with the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust, the charitable arm of the Royal Warrant Holders Association that helps talented craftspeople pursue and hone their talents. QEST scholars will be in attendance across all four days of the fair, showcasing their skills and selling their work.

There is also the opportunity to seek advice and look at examples of work carried out by T L Phelps Fine Furniture Restoration. Tim Phelps has worked on restoration of Chippendale furniture at Harewood House. Advisors from Wilson Mitchell & Co. Ltd, a senior partner practice of St. James’s Place Wealth Management, will be happy to discuss investments with their clients and other interested visitors.

Light refreshments are available within the fair or more substantial catering is available at the Courtyard at Harewood.

Ingrid Nilson, director of The Antiques Dealers Fairs Limited says, “We look forward to returning to Yorkshire in May and to seeing many of our loyal visitors again.”

Your Photographs

Each year we are privileged to see your wonderful images of Harewood. From striking landscapes and penguins to quiet picnics and big events, your images are a part of Harewood’s history. If you would like to share your images with us our social media channels on Facebook and Twitter are perfect places.

A Royal Weekend at Harewood in Yorkshire

In Yorkshire, Harewood House hosts Antiques Fairs

A Cartier silver cigarette case with its red leather presentation case both bearing Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s crest, 1960, POA from T Robert

Over the weekend of Her Majesty The Queen’s official 90th birthday, The Antiques Dealers Fair Limited returns to stage The Antiques & Fine Art Fair at Harewood. Supported by Knight Frank Harrogate, the fair opens in The Marquee, Harewood House, Harewood, near Leeds, West Yorkshire LS17 9LQ from Friday 10 to Sunday 12 June 2016 in the spectacular Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown landscape in which Harewood House nestles.

To mark the royal birthday, exhibitors are bringing items with regal connections. T Robert has a Cartier silver cigarette case, in its red Cartier box, both complete with the royal crown insignia.  Presumably this was presented to someone by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, but it appears it has never been used, as it is in mint condition, POA. Mark J West is bringing a pair of Royal Brierley Crystal presentation goblets made to commemorate the 1937 coronation of the Queen’s father, King George VI, priced at £500 the pair. These would have been made rather hurriedly, following the abdication of his brother, King Edward VIII.

Visit Harewood House in Yorkshire to see antiques

English enamel patch box depicting Princess Charlotte, c1816-17, £895 from JA Yarwood Antiques

A regal name in vogue at the moment is Princess Charlotte. New exhibitor JA Yarwood Antiques, from Skipton, has an early 19th century English enamel patch box, c1816, priced at £895. This rare box depicts Charlotte, Princess Royal (1766-1828), eldest daughter of King George III, who married Prince Frederick of Württemberg. Another royal piece, an exceptionally rare pressed horn snuff box, has a lid modelled after the portrait of George I, painted by Sir Godfrey Kneller, which still bears traces of the original gilding, c1714-27, selling for £765.

Visit Yorkshire to see Harewood House and antiques

Historic document fragment with the signatures of four of King Charles I’s regicides, £575 from Odyssey

Antiquities specialist Odyssey is bringing an impressive selection of royal autographs, all beautifully framed, such as King George V’s signature, £90; King Edward VIII’s, dated 1920 when he was still the Prince of Wales, £120 and also one from Prince Frederick, Duke of York, second son of King George III, £110.  Prince Frederick was the famous Grand Old Duke of York and was responsible for licking the army into shape by forced marches and endless drills, immortalised in the well-known rhyme. More gruesome, but an important piece of history, is a document fragment  bearing the signatures of four of King Charles I’s ‘regicides’, two of which signed the Warrant of Execution and two of the trial judges, together with the full biography of each person, priced at £575.

From Freshfords Fine Antiques comes a Regency George IV amboyna and rosewood side table, attributable to Morel and Seddon, c1826, £14,860. George Seddon formed a partnership with cabinetmaker and upholsterer Nicholas Morel to fulfil one of their contracts: to make furniture for Windsor Castle. They worked almost exclusively for the crown, particularly at Windsor, but also at other royal residences.

Ingrid Nilson, director of The Antiques Dealers Fair Limited said, “At this year’s fair, we are launching an affiliation with the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST), the charitable arm of the Royal Warrant Holders Association, that funds the education of talented craftspeople through traditional college courses, apprenticeships or one-on-one training with masters. This will be ongoing with our fairs well into the future.”

First time exhibitors, amongst the 30 stands, this year include Lancashire based jewellery specialists Howell 1870, vintage watch dealer Timewise and Morgan Strickland Decorative Arts from London and JA Yarwood Antiques, who are joining other returning Yorkshire based dealers FJ & RD Story Antique Clocks, Jack Shaw & Co, Nicholas Daly Books and TL Phelps Fine Furniture Restoration, as well as others from the length and breadth of the country.

Visit Yorkshire and Harewood House to enjoy the Antiques Fair

Tudor Crystal mosaic glass cream jug and sugar bowl with silver mounts, London 1921, £760 the pair from Mark J West

As we head into the English summer of strawberries and cream, Mark J West‘s Tudor Crystal mosaic glass cream jug and sugar bowl with silver mounts fits perfectly with its juicy red fruits hanging from green foliage, London 1921, £760 the pair. Ripe fruits often attract creepy crawlies, but people cannot fail to be charmed by the selection of gold and precious gem set insect brooches, c1895-1900, priced between £885 and £1,250 from T Robert.

Visit Yorkshire to see Antiques at Harewood House

Small maquette by Henry Moore, bronze, edition of 9, £61,360 from Richwood Fine Art

Other highlights to be found at this annual event include a small bronze maquette of a seated figure by Henry Moore (1898-1986), from the Marlborough show of 1963, 15cm high, edition of 9, 1960, priced at £61,360 from Richwood Fine Art and Oh Jane, it is Bad News, oil on canvas board by Helen Bradley (1900-1979), 15.25″ x 13.6″, £39,000, also from Richwood Fine Art. Helen Bradley neatly wrote a story for the grandchildren, which can still be found verso.

Visit Yorkshire to enjoy the Antiques Fair at Harewood

English double fusée bronze and ormolu mounted mantel clock by F Baetens, c1825, £5,950 from FJ & RD Story Antique Clocks

New exhibitor, Timewise, joins the fair with a selection of watches including a vintage Rolex Oyster Precision steel watch with a white dial in the sought-after ‘Explorer’ design, priced at £2,790. Sticking with timepieces, clocks always bring a room to life and FJ & RD Story Antique Clocks has a diverse collection catering for most tastes, amongst which is an English double fusée bronze and ormolu mounted mantel clock by F Baetens, London, c1825, priced at £5,950 and a fine quality figured walnut longcase clock by William Allam of London, c1750, £12,000. Examples of Allam’s work were exhibited at the Guildhall Museum in London, founded in 1826.

Dating back around 70 million years, the oldest piece to be found at the fair is a dinosaur egg, measuring around 15cm, £550 from antiquities dealer Odyssey. This impressive fossilised egg is from a Therizinosaurus, which roamed the earth during the late Cretaceous period.

Visit Harewood House in Yorkshire to enjoy antiques

Pair of Staffordshire pottery cockerels, 12” high, c1870, POA from Carolyn Stoddart-Scott

Jack Shaw & Co returns with a fine collection of silver, including a pair of French claret jugs by the renowned Parisian silversmith Emile Puiforcat, c1880, £4,500 and a pair of old Sheffield plate wine coolers, c1825, £3,500.  Ceramics specialist, Carolyn Stoddart-Scott always has a decorative mix of fine English and Continental pieces. Amongst the porcelain she is bringing is a pair of puce mark Derby plates with yellow border and sprig decoration, c1800, and a pair of 12 inch tall pottery cockerels, c1870, both POA. JA Yarwood Antiques is also showing a collection of fine quality Japanese items, including a late Edo – early Meiji period hand carved ivory netsuke showing Ashinaga and Tenaga, signed, Japan, c1860, £3,785.

Antiques fair ticket holders gain complimentary access to Harewood’s grounds, gardens and Below Stairs.  For £5 each, (saving £11.50 on an Adult Freedom ticket) fair visitors can upgrade to see the State Rooms and current exhibitions marking the 300th anniversary of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown’s birth. Harewood House’s exhibitions and activities include The Art of Landscape which presents a full and fresh assessment of the cultural influence of the ‘Capability’ Brown design at Harewood.  Great Capabilities; a celebration of “Capability” Brown at Harewood takes place from 4 to 12 June, celebrating the achievements of the great landscape designer at Harewood in a series of walks, talks and exhibitions.

For those seeking advice about the care of antique furniture, look no further than T L Phelps Fine Furniture Restoration, the north Yorkshire based company that has been responsible for working on some of the Chippendale furniture and a dining table in Harewood House in the past. A current project includes tidying up the damaged polish on a grand sized dining table from a royal household, made by Holland & Sons, as well as some matching chairs and side tables.

Even the caterers, The Yorkshire Party Company, who are providing light refreshments in The Marquee, have been inspired by the royal birthday and ‘Capability’ Brown’s anniversary year. The fair is supported by Knight Frank, Masons Yorkshire Gin and Wilson Mitchell & Co. Ltd, senior partner practice of St. James’s Place Wealth Management.

Read more about the Antiques Fair