Thomas Chippendale was born in 1718 in Otley, a small market town twelve miles north-west of Leeds, in Wharfedale, Yorkshire. Today the name of Chippendale is known throughout the world and has endured as a hallmark of quality, style and panache.
The National Trust is very fortunate to care for one of the best surviving collections of Chippendale's work at Nostell Priory, near Wakefield in Yorkshire, not very far from where he lived as a child and adolescent. In 2018, the tercentenary of Chippendale's baptism, the Trust’s Furniture Research & Cataloguing team embarked upon a project to reveal some of Chippendale's treasures at Nostell Priory, commissioning new photography to record hidden aspects of this remarkable collection.
Chippendale Revealed, a permanent online exhibition, is the result of two week-long photographic shoots in the house in March and April 2018. Why did the Trust feel the need to re-photograph furniture that is already so famous (even familiar) and illustrated in publications by the 20th century’s leading Chippendale scholars? The time was right, we felt, to provide new views of some of this furniture, often seen behind ropes by visitors to the house, where a balance has to be struck between access and conservation. Where possible, Chippendale’s furniture at Nostell has been re-photographed in a studio setting, removed from rooms which, whilst beautiful, sometimes distract from the beauty of the pieces themselves. The result is a detailed and intimate record of some of the output from Chippendale's workshop, which we hope will interest and delight enthusiasts and scholars alike.