I had the honor last week of speaking at the Unity for Design Winter Conference 2014 in High Point. I was a guest of the Baker Showroom and was ask to do a tabletop design and a book signing for The Collected Tabletop. Baker, quiet appropriately I might say, placed me in a lovely area of the Stately Homes Collection for my tablescape creation and book signing. The Stately Homes Collection has long been my favorite of all of the Baker collections and certainly meshes well with my own design philosophy …. “Collected, not Decorated!” Being in this lovely area of the showroom and sharing my passion for design and tabletop inspired me to do a series on this lovely collection from Baker. The pieces of the Stately Homes Collection illustrate that excellence is not limited to one era or design style, but is best achieved by an eclectic mix for lasting appeal. Truly the basis for a “collected design”! So come with me on a trip to some of The British Isles most interesting stately home and see the origin of some of my favorite pieces from Baker’s Stately Homes Collection.
My “Dinner with Mr. Churchill” tablescape was right at home in this dining area of the Stately Homes Collection.
Before we begin our trip “over the pond”, I would like to share with you some of the interesting history behind this exquisite collection from Baker.
The Stately Homes Collection by Baker furniture, as selected by Sir Humphry Wakefield , showcases original designs by the greatest creative minds of the Golden Age of furniture. This collection features authentic renderings of one-of-a-kind pieces commissioned, designed and made for the finest estates of England, Ireland, Scotland and the royal palaces of Russia.
In a unique relationship with Sir Humphry Wakefield, Baker Furniture has gained first-ever commercial access to these noble estates. An English Baronet, Sir Humphry is a member of a distinguished family and owner of 800 year old Chillingham Castle. Sir Humphry is a foremost authority on English antiques and architecture and has consulted with Baker since the founding of the collection in 1980. The longevity of this collection demonstrates to me the lasting appeal of quality antiques and carefully crafted antique reproductions.
Sir Humphry’s home, Chillingham Castle is located in Northumberland, England.
In the same family lineage since the 1200’s Chillingham Castle remains a powerful fortress to this day, though now a strong centre for cultural rather than the martial arts of ancient days. Sir Humphrey currently markets the castle as the Most Haunted Castle in Britain! Doesn’t that sound interesting!
These rooms at Chillingham certainly reflect a collected interiors and just seem to overflow with history. Another interesting little fact I learned, is that Sir Humphrey Wakefield’s father was a Minister to Winston Churchill’s government! Dinner with Mr. Churchill was truly at home in the Stately Homes showroom!
Today I would like to focus on one of my favorite pieces of the collection , The Queen Anne Bureau-Cabinet, from the private collection of Sir Humphrey Wakefield.
This very fine early Queen Anne walnut bureau-cabinet, is elaborately cross banded and inlaid with arrow-pattern bands to the exterior and also to the fitted interior. I love the compartmented architectural columns and the hidden sliding panel that conceals secret recesses! One always needs a little secret hiding place! And the upper section with a broadly moulded ogee-shaped pediment with urn shaped finials and a center crown is so very classic in style. This piece is English circa 1705 and is made of walnut, oak and cherry veneers.
This vignette in the Stately Homes area at Baker, demonstrates how this pieces mixes so well in an eclectic, updated interior.
Tomorrow we will move to Broughton Castle in Oxfordshire, England for more of my favorites from Stately Homes, so stay tuned! Actually the piece that I will feature tomorrow is living beautifully with the Queen Anne Bureau-Cabinet in the room image above. The first blog reader to guess which piece that will be, will win a signed copy of The Collected Tabletop!! One small clue…the Egyptian term for this is TEJEN, but comes from a Greek word!