V&A Museum adds Edwardian finish to country house


Forty pieces of furniture from the V&A’s collection will be shown at Sewerby Hall, a large country house in the East Riding of Yorkshire, on long-term loan as part of a major refurbishment. On 9 August Sewerby Hall will reopen to the public with newly presented interiors styled as they would have been in the Edwardian period, with objects from the V&A’s collection on display throughout the ground floor.

To accurately replicate the look and feel of life in the house during the Edwardian period, curators from the V&A and Sewerby Hall have closely referenced a set of photographs taken of the property in 1910. These reveal the layout of much the ground floor, including the Entrance Hall, Dining Room, Drawing Room, Oak Room and Billiard Room Library. The furniture which best matches the photographs has been selected from the V&A’s extensive collection. On display will be a range of European, primarily British, pieces dating from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries as would be typical of an Edwardian-period country house. Tables, chairs, bureaus, bookcases, a settee and a variety of occasional furniture including a dumbwaiter have been placed using the original photographs as a guide.

Leela Merinertas, Curator of 18th century furniture at the V&A, says ‘We are delighted to be able to lend so many pieces from the V&A’s collections to Sewerby Hall. The Museum has been working closely with Sewerby Hall on this project for five years and it has taken a dedicated team of V&A specialists and partners to select and transport the objects to Yorkshire. We are looking forward to visitors having the opportunity to see everything in place and for this period of history to be brought back to life at Sewerby’.

MP for East Yorkshire Sir Greg Knight says ‘This is great news for Sewerby Hall and for visitors to the East Riding. I applaud the V&A for supporting the Sewerby Hall refurbishment programme with this important loan. I would encourage residents and visitors alike to experience this unique opportunity to go back in time. Following this refurbishment, everyone should now come and visit Sewerby’.


On view from the mid-17th century will be a selection of oak chairs from the Yorkshire area, including an imposing armchair with a high back and crest, and a later group of side chairs with distinctive and varied carved backs. An unusual early-17th century carved box mounted on a later stand will be on display in the Oak Room.

Among the 18th century pieces will be a marquetry commode stamped by the Parisian cabinet-maket Mathieu Criaerd, who specialised in furniture veneered with elaborate floral marquetry with rococo mounts. Also included in the loan will be chairs with backs closely modelled on designs by Yorkshire-born Thomas Chippendale. As well as examples from the mid 18th century there are several typical  ‘Chippendale revival’ pieces, which are often found in houses of this period.

19th century pieces on display will include a short bookcase made by Parisian cabinetmaker Jean-Georges Horning between 1810 – 1815 and a type of dinner wagon popular in Victorian homes. Appearing as a conventional side table, the dinner wagon becomes a moveable stand with shelves, like a modern trolley when the top is raised.

The long-term loan to Sewerby Hall forms part of the V&A’s broad programme of lending activity. The Museum not only tours displays and exhibitions to international venues, but is one of the biggest lenders of Museum objects to venues around the world including locations across the UK. Every year the V&A lends thousands of items to temporary exhibitions throughout Britain to ensure that V&A collections and expertise reach a wide audience.

Visit: http://www.vam.ac.uk/ for more info

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