Our Chippendale Collections
During the eighteenth century William Constable Esq. elected to spend a fortune re-fashioning his house with the tastes of the day.
The well-known furniture maker Thomas Chippendale first appears in the records in 1768 when he supplied a walnut 'gouty chair' with matching stool for a cost of £13-5s-6d. A few years later William's sister, Miss Winifred Constable, purchased a rosewood writing desk, which was delivered to Burton Constable on the 23rd December 1772; possibly a Christmas present for her brother.
From 1774, William Constable rented a fashionable London townhouse on Mansfield Place, which he furnished with an array of Chippendale items including a suite of Cabriole chairs japaned blue and white, a pair of gilt-pine oval mirrors and a gentleman's shaving table. When ill health forced William to abandon his London house and retreat to his country estate in the 1780's, the furniture was brought to Burton Constable Hall.
In 1776 William elected to create a new Great Drawing Room at Burton Constable and he employed the architect James Wyatt to supply him with a design. Wyatt's design was accepted, but evidently William was not impressed with his slow progress and in 1788 he employed the firm of Chippendale to execute Wyatt's scheme. This involved making three impressive mirror frames for the French glass already supplied by Wyatt, along with a pair of pier tables to support marble slabs acquired on William's Grand Tour to Italy, a pair of window pelmets and a large suite of Chippendale seat furniture. Working alongside the prestigious London firm, the Hull carver Jeremiah Hargrave was employed to carve the decoration for the three door cases along with a huge pair of lime wood and gilded girandoles that embellished the wall either side of the fireplace.
During the 19th century many of the Chippendale collections were altered by the family, which included gilding and reupholstering the suite of seat furniture and modifying the writing desk to accommodate three drawers.