Thursday, September 19, 2013

Her Majesty's Furniture: The Thomas Hopper Wardrobe, 1820-30

Thomas Hopper, 1820-30
From Gosford Castle
The Victoria & Albert Museum

While this wardrobe appears rather unusual, the interior is quite typical for what it is. Made between 1820 and 1830, this is the work of Thomas Hopper (1776-1856) who first trained as a surveyor. Hopper’s first major commission was the Gothic Conservatory which he added to Carlton House, London in 1807, for the Prince Regent, later King George IV.

Hopper established himself as a designer of grand country houses, working in various styles. The most admired of his designs, however, were his Norman-style castles of Gosford and Penryhn, for which he also designed the copious amounts of furniture which were required. Among them, was this handsome wardrobe.

This wardrobe was probably made for Gosford Castle, since it does not resemble any of the Penrhyn furniture. The contents of Gosford were all sold off in the 1920s, allowing this piece to be liberated to the V&A.

The front of the wardrobe is marked by concentric rounded arches which are decorated with variations on zig-zag carving and roll moldings. These are supported by columns with incised decoration. Animal figures grace the spandrels and figurative decoration appears underneath the main arch which is also surmounted by an overhanging cornice and deep pediment.

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