News. Chippendale tours at Dumfries House

14th of May, 2018

This year marks the tercentenary year of Thomas Chippendale’s birth. To celebrate, Dumfries House has put together an exclusive programme that pays homage to the acclaimed 18th century cabinet-maker best-known for his mid-Georgian, English Rococo and Neoclassical styles. Alongside special curator’s choice events, the Estate is also providing a Chippendale 300 tour, which will run throughout the season on Tuesdays at 12.30pm. Below, some of the Dumfries House tour guides detail some of their favourite pieces of Chippendale furniture, present on the tour.

Alex Macdonald first started at Dumfries House on a voluntary basis, before becoming a guide. He now works on the Estate as Head Guide.

“The Elbow Chairs for me are the outstanding highlight of the collection. They say everything you need to know about Chippendale. There’s a tangible beauty and a sense of taste and elegance. With sinuous, flowing curves and scrolls, fine carving and quality wood – this is Chippendale at its refined best. Of course, we aren’t allowed to sit on them but I could happily sit opposite one and enjoy the grace and rhythm of the form. I have the privilege of seeing them almost daily and never tire of them. They transcend function and become works of art.”

Roger Read has worked at Dumfries House for ten years. He joined the team as a Tour Guide and is now a Senior Guide.

“I love the Thomas Chippendale Twin Drop-Leaf Breakfast/Supper Table in the Family Parlour. It epitomises Thomas Chippendale’s design skill. His forward-thinking meant that he used wirework around the food compartment and always gets a laugh from the public when respectfully described as the ‘anti-dog’ device!”

Gail Gilchrist also joined Dumfries House in 2008. She started as a Tour Guide and is now a Senior Guide.

“My favourite piece of Chippendale furniture in the house is the Best Bed. I love the craftsmanship, especially the beautifully fluted pillars wrapped with palm fronds. It is a temple of ‘armour’ with the exquisitely carved shell of Venus in the cornice. It exudes both femininity and strength. The bed was restored in 2010 after a three-month period. It encompasses the craftsmanship of the past and the present.