One of the treasures of The Bowes Museum
s sequence of period room panelling will be highlighted as the Object of the Month for August.
Every Thursday at 2.30 curator Howard Coutts will reveal the story behind a segment of panelling from a London townhouse built for Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield.
Chesterfield, best known for his letters to his [illegitimate] son, giving advice on how to behave and get on in society, was also an international diplomat who desired a house fully up-to-date in style. His house was the first in England to show the ornate rococo style imported from France in the mid 18th Century.
Dr Coutts, who will talk about the house and about polite society in London during that period, said: There is much sense in Chesterfields letters, but also much calculation on creating the best impression on ones social superiors.
Chesterfield House was demolished in 1937 and parts of the ante-room were brought up to Sunderland. The panelling was presented by Sir Nicholas Williamson of Whitburn Hall in 1968. It forms the centrepiece of the Museums new galleries devoted to English Interiors 1500-1900.
With over 30,000 items in the Museum collections there is always something new to discover. The idea of an Object of the Month is viewed as a way of highlighting items that might otherwise be overshadowed by more familiar treasures. The programme has been designed as an ideal way of raising awareness of those objects in an interesting and informative manner.