Exhibition, Study Group, and Conference | Chinese Wallpaper

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on January 31, 2014

This posting depends upon the terrific communication channels maintained by an impressive network of people: Courtney Barnes of Style Court, Emile de Bruijn of Treasure Hunt for the National Trust, and the UCL-based project team for The East India Company at Home, 1757–1857. Anyone interested in participating should follow these links to contact the relevant parties. -CH

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From the latest East India Company at Home Newsletter (January 2014). . .

On 28 January [2014] Helen [Clifford] assisted with the Chinese Wallpaper Study Day held at the National Trust Office at Grosvenor Gardens, London. This event was organised as a means of drawing together those who are active in the Chinese Wallpaper Study Group, begun by Emile de Bruijn, to exchange information and help plan for a major international conference on the subject which we hope will be held this summer. Over 25 attendants included academics, students, curators, conservators, entrepreneurs and property managers.

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From Woburn Abbey:

Peeling Back the Years: Chinese Wallpaper at Woburn Abbey
Woburn Abbey and Gardens, Bedfordshire, opens 11 April 2014

Curated by Her Grace, The Duchess of Bedford and Lucy Johnson

hinese white male pheasant on a rock amongst tree peonies; detail from Chinese wallpaper hung in ‘His Grace’s Bedchamber’, April-May 1752 by Crompton & Spinnage

Chinese white male pheasant on a rock amongst tree peonies; detail from Chinese wallpaper hung in the 4th Duke of Bedford’s private bedchamber at Woburn Abbey, 1752 by Crompton & Spinnage

This exhibition tells the fascinating history of a decorative element with which we all live, in its most inventive and luxurious form. It begins by following one room’s story from the height of opulence in 1752 as the 4th Duke of Bedford’s private bedchamber, to its changing status as the housekeeper’s room, visitor entrance, tribute to the 4th Duke and current exhibition room.

Explore Woburn’s two distinct periods of Chinoiserie in both the house and garden. The recently discovered mid-18th-century wallpaper fragments in the family, private and State apartments were amongst the earliest Chinese wallpapers made for the European market and have not been seen since these rooms were redecorated in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The second wave of Chinoiserie decoration in the early 19th century shows how taste and designs changed. The V&A has loaned a wallpaper photographed in Lady Ermyntrude’s sitting room in January 1884 and Endsleigh House Hotel, a wallpaper hung when Endsleigh was built as a family fishing lodge. Woburn is also collaborating with the National Trust Wallpaper Trail, and comparisons will be made with related wallpapers at Belton House, Felbrigg Hall, Ightham Moat, Penrhyn Castle, Saltram and Uppark.

A trail of artworks in the collection will show how the passion for Chinoiserie influenced the collecting taste of the Dukes of Bedford. A second trail of Chinoiserie features and Oriental plants will explain how this influence extended into the gardens, winner of the 2013 Georgian Group Architectural Award for Restoration of a Georgian Garden or Landscape.

Experience the processes which allow us to unravel a room’s history. Inventories and invoices show how these wallpapers were discovered, purchased and hung. Watch the story of the discovery, conservation and recreation of the wallpaper found in the 4th Duke’s private bedchamber unfold. See and handle materials used to make and conserve Chinese wallpapers and understand how we care for them today. Peeling Back the Years: Chinese Wallpaper at Woburn Abbey is included within the price of a standard admission ticket to Woburn Abbey and Gardens. Events for all age groups will be held throughout 2014 where visitors can meet the experts and engage in creative design.

2 Responses

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  1. Lucy Johnson said, on January 31, 2014 at 8:35 am

    Thankyou for mentioning the #Chinesewallpaper exhibition at #WoburnAbbey. For anyone who wants to follow the story I am writing a weekly blog updating on progress and new discoveries, 2 this week which will be posted Monday. Lucy Johnson, curator, Peeling Back the Years.

  2. Editor said, on January 31, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Many thanks, Lucy! Please by all means, add comments with any additional links that might interest readers! It really does look like an amazing project. best, -Craig Hanson

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