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Chippendale 300: Discover the world of interiors created by the ‘Shakespeare of furniture’

Project curator, Simon McCormack reviews the Chippendale archive at Nostell.''Picture: National Trust / North News and Pictures
Project curator, Simon McCormack reviews the Chippendale archive at Nostell.''Picture: National Trust / North News and Pictures
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HE was known as the ‘Shakespeare of furniture’, with his innovative designs still influencing pieces today.

Now, to mark 300 years since the birth of Otley’s Thomas Chippendale, the National Trust is holding a series of events at Wakefield’s Nostell Priory, to celebrate his legacy.

The Chippendale archives and signature' at Nostell Priory.''Picture: National Trust / North News and Pictures

The Chippendale archives and signature' at Nostell Priory.''Picture: National Trust / North News and Pictures

Chippendale created a “world of interiors” at Nostell’s treasure house, and the priory also has a collection of his letters and drawings.

A new exhibition, opening next Wednesday, will unravel the story of Chippendale and his links to Nostell, featuring some of the 100 pieces he supplied for the Winn family, plus tools and letters. A series of creative workshops for families will also launch, followed by further exhibitions opening in July.

Project curator Simon McCormack said: “Chippendale created a one-stop-shop for his 18th century clients – from fixing jammed doors to creating grand showrooms in the latest fashions.

“The new exhibition will set this scene for our visitors, before they explore Nostell’s magnificent first floor rooms, from the exotic Chinese state apartment to the cool classicism of the library and opulent, Grand Tour inspired saloon, which will really come to life from July.”

Giles Round gets inspiration from Chippendale marbling in the books of Nostell's library'. ''Picture: National Trust / North News and Pictures

Giles Round gets inspiration from Chippendale marbling in the books of Nostell's library'. ''Picture: National Trust / North News and Pictures

Nostell has also teamed up with the city’s Hepworth Wakefield Gallery, to showcase a contemporary response to Chippendale by artist Giles Round.

He will reflect on the designer’s entrepreneurship and look back on an influential exhibition staged at the former Wakefield Art Gallery in 1959, Living Today: An Exhibition of Modern Interiors.

Mr Round said: “I’m interested in Chippendale as an entrepreneur and his influential use of the catalogue as a sales tool allowing clients to order functional objects in a variety of fashionable styles from Rococo to Neo-Classic.

“Alongside furniture produced in his London premises, Chippendale would also design or procure items such as carpets, wall coverings and iron work.”