Dumfries House (2)

Inside is a nearly perfectly preserved set of interiors of the late 1750s, complete with plasterwork ceilings, neoclassical chimneypieces and much Chippendale furniture, whose purchase is documented, including fine Chinoiserie girandoles flanking Lord Dumfries’s portrait in the dining room, a set of elbow chairs and pair of card tables in the Parlour, a desk in the room originally known as ‘My Lords Dressing room’, and, best of all, the padouk bookcase in the Drawing room.   Chippendale had taken on a Scottish partner, James Rannie, in 1754, the year he published the Director.   The furniture was dispatched by boat from London in late May 1759, and, on 29 May, Chippendale wrote a letter to say that ‘we ship’d your goods on board the Dilgence which saild on Sunday morning early…   The contents of each case wt properdirections are given to ye Person who goes to put up the Furniture.   We pay him a Guinea a Week’.   It is an astonishing survival, narrowly saved from sale by Christie’s (the sale catalogues had been published), before the house and estate were bought lock, stock and bookcases by a consortium led by the Duke of Rothesay, following appeals by James Knox and Marcus Binney, in 2007.

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