• Uncovering the secrets of our furniture collection Part 1 Hardwick Hall

    By, Dr. Gabriella de la Rosa

    Thanks to the generous support of the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and the Royal Oak Foundation, we are embarking upon a research project to catalogue approximately 57,000 pieces of furniture in our collections. We’ve made some exciting discoveries whilst adding to the existing wealth of knowledge about our most treasured items. Here’s just a small selection of what we’ve encountered thus far. This post features furniture from Hardwick Hall.

     This post can be found on the national trust site here.

    Hardwick Hall

    The ‘Aeglentyne’ table 

    Aeglentyne table

    Detail of the so-called ‘Aeglentyne’ table, c.1568 / NT 1127774

    The ‘Aeglentyne’ table is one of the rarest surviving pieces of furniture in England. An inlaid motto, pictured here, contains the word ‘aeglentyne’, the old word for a sweet briar rose. Whilst the strapwork design was inspired by Flemish examples, the execution of the inlay on various woods is distinctively English, and we now believe that the table may have been made by craftsmen in London, possibly in Southwark.

    The ‘Sea-Dog’ table 
    sea dog table

    The so-called ‘Sea-Dog Table’ after Jacques Androuet du Cerceau, c.1575 / NT 1127744

    This walnut draw-leaf table is one of several extremely rare, early pieces of furniture at Hardwick Hall. The top is inlaid with different marbles and patterns of flowers, fruits and arabasques. The legs are in the form of chimeras with hound-like heads, hence the title ‘sea-dog’.

    The ‘du Cerceau’ cabinet 

    du cerceau cabinet

    The so-called ‘du Cerceau’ Cabinet, c.1580 / NT 1127743

    Recent technical analysis has allowed us to determine that French oak of the mid-to-late 16th century was used in the construction of this rare walnut cabinet. Based on designs by the influential French designer, Du Cerceau, the cabinet retains much of its original decorations, including paintings on leather and inset marble plaques.