The Nostell Priory 'India chairs Japan'd Green and Gold' - 1771
workshop of Thomas Chippendale (fl. 1766 - 1771 when operating without a business partner)
A set of eighteen pieces of green-japanned and parcel-gilt seat furniture, made by either Thomas Chippendale (fl. 1766 - 1771) or Chippendale, Haig & Co. (fl. 1771 - 1779). The set comprising fourteen armchairs [NT 959749.1 - 8 and 12 - 17], a wing armchair [NT 959749.11], a sofa [NT 959749.10] and a pair of dressing stools [NT 959749.9 & 18]. All with later damask upholstery, and later hand-painted chintz loose covers.
This remarkably designed and decorated set of seat furniture is part of a larger suite of bedroom furniture (also comprising a commode [NT 959751], clothes press [NT 959752], dressing tables [NT 959750 & NT 959750], and other furnishings like mirrors and pelmets), made in the fashionable 'Chinese Chippendale' style. The seat furniture was supplied in several phases, as follows: - 8th April 1771: 'To 8 chairs with India feet and Arms neatly Japan'd Green And Gold, the backs and Seats in linen for Anti Room...£21-0-0'. These were delivered in April 1771 and were intended for the 'Ante Room South East Corner' (which is now the State Bedroom but which was once the State Dressing Room). - 8th April 1771: 'To 6 India Arm'd Chairs Japan'd Green and Gold & Stuff'd in Linnen as before...£15-5-0'. These were supplied for the 'Alcove bed Chamber' (now the State Dressing Room) and were delivered in May 1771. - 6th May 1771: 'To A Sofa neatly Japan'd Green and Gold to match the chairs, stuff'd in linen And Castors...£8-6-0'. This was sent to Nostell on 6th Mary 1771 and was intended, like the set of eight chairs, for the 'Ante Room South East Corner (i.e. what is now the State Bedroom but which was once the State Dressing Room). - 6th May 1771: 'To 2 dressing stools Japan'd Green & Gold to match the Chairs and Stuff'd in Linnen...£3-12-0'. Delivered to Nostell on 6th May, and described elsewhere as intended (along with the six chairs mentioned above) for the 'Alcove bed Chamber' (now the State Dressing Room). Note that these may also be the two stools intended for the 'Ante Room South East Corner'; another was also supplied for the Alcove Bed Chamber. Only two survive at Nostell. - 6th May 1771: 'To An Easy Chair Japan'd Green & Gold to match the Others, Stuff'd in Lenen And Castors...£3-10-0'. Sent to Nostell on the same day on which it was invoiced. All of these pieces of furniture were originally intended to be fitted with chintz covers, 'fring'd round ye Seats with a Small Green silk fring'. A tiny fragment of an 18th century hand-painted Chinese cotton chintz was found in the tester of the bed during conservation work, and it was this which served as the model for the present covers, replaced in 1982 when the Edwardian fabric with which they were then covered was damaged by smoke from a fire. No design source has been found for any of the Chinoiserie subjects. The 'India Arm's Chairs' have been said to unite archaic features (the lattice arms) with progressive Neo-Classical legs, 'an imaginative marriage which underlines Chippendale's creative flair'. As a result, this set is one of Chippendale's most celebrated and probably the best surviving example of its type; it is the only suite to survive in rooms still hung with the 'India' wall paper Chippendale supplied to complement it. Such papers were called 'Indian' in the 18th century as they were often imported by the East India Company, ever though they were in fact Chinese. (Entry adapted by Megan Wheeler, March 2018)
Purchased by Sir Rowland Winn, 5th Baronet, in 1771 and thence by descent until accepted by HM Treasury in lieu of death duties on the estate of Rowland Winn, 4th Baron Oswald (1916 - 1984), in 1986.
Makers and roles
workshop of Thomas Chippendale (fl. 1766 - 1771 when operating without a business partner), cabinet-maker workshop of Chippendale, Haig & Co. (fl. 1771 - 1779), cabinet-maker
Boynton and Goodison, 1969: Lindsay Boynton and Nicholas Goodison. “The furniture of Thomas Chippendale at Nostell Priory.” Burlington Magazine III June 1969: pp.350-60., pp. 356 & 359, Figures 19, 23, 24 & 26 Gilbert (1978): Christopher Gilbert, The Life & Work of Thomas Chippendale (1978), 2 volumes., Vol. I, pp. 171 & 191 - 2 and Vol. II, Figures 168, 169, 360 & 387 Coleridge, 1968: Anthony Coleridge, Chippendale furniture: the work of Thomas Chippendale and his Contemporaries in the Rococo Taste. London: Faber, 1968., p. 116 Boynton and Goodison, 1969: Lindsay Boynton and Nicholas Goodison, 'The furniture of Thomas Chippendale at Nostell Priory', Burlington Magazine III, May 1969: pp. 281-5., p. 282 Boynton and Goodison, 1968: Lindsay Boynton, and Nicholas Goodison. “Thomas Chippendale at Nostell Priory.” Furniture History 4 (1968): pp.10-61., pp. 28, 29, 31, 32