How Hull’s craftsmen carved a niche from Chippendale originals

Curator Kelly Wainwright with a Chippendale Mirror dated 1778. Picture by Simon Hulme
Curator Kelly Wainwright with a Chippendale Mirror dated 1778. Picture by Simon Hulme
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The most easterly of the Yorkshire celebrations to mark the 300th anniversary of the furniture maker Thomas Chippendale has been unveiled at Burton Constable, the Elizabethan country estate near Hull.

Its collection includes pieces commissioned from Chippendale by the collector William Constable, for whose family Burton Constable Hall was home for 400 years.

Documents from its archive also reveal the extent to which local craftsmen in Hull learned from Chippendale and replicated his designs.

Constable spent a fortune decorating his house. Chippendale’s name first appears in his records in 1768 when he supplied a walnut “gouty chair” with matching stool for £13-5s-6d.

From 1774, Constable rented a fashionable London townhouse, which he also furnished with Chippendale items including a suite of Cabriole chairs, a pair of gilt-pine oval mirrors and a gentleman’s shaving table, which was later brought to Burton Constable Hall.

Its exhibition, Chippendale and the Yorkshire Craftsman, is open until November.