India picture

Thomas Chippendalec.1771

Leeds Museums & Galleries

Leeds Museums & Galleries
United Kingdom

This ‘India Picture' comes from the Yellow Chintz Lodging Room at Harewood House where it was recorded in the 1795 inventory: ‘1 India Picture over the Chimney'. Evidently it was an inexpensive alternative to the much more costly back-painted Chinese mirrors which Chippendale had provided for the State Bedroom. It may also have served to use up any excess fragments of wallpaper from a complete room scheme elsewhere by making a collage of at least three different pieces assembled to form a decorative picture. It was usually the client's responsibility to supply Chippendale with expensive materials such as Chinese paper, lacquer and silk damask for his men to hang, make up or use for upholstery, although on at least one occasion Chippendale procured Chinese papers for Sir Rowland Winn at Nostell at 15s 0d a piece. Anthony Wells-Cole has written: ‘… at Harewood there were at least three Chinese room schemes. A panoramic wallpaper depicting scenes from everyday life was hung in the Chintz Bedroom in 1769; taken down in the 19th century it was conserved by Allyson McDermott and re-hung in the East Bedroom in 2008. This was funded by the sale from Harewood of a second Chinese wallpaper, also depicting scenes from everyday life but less vibrant in colour and poorly preserved. There was evidently a third Chinese room with a ‘bird and flower' wallpaper scheme – now lost – from which the fragments that make up the present collage were presumably left over. Additionally Lascelles was invoiced by Chippendale in 1775 for ‘2 sheets India paper with plain Crimson ground [at] 15 [d] 3s 6d' [sic], but these were clearly not room hangings for the following year he supplied ‘2 round screens covered with fine India paper and the remains of 3 sheets sent with them…'. The frame has a pearl beaded inner border with a fluted middle section and a gadrooned outer section executed in paper mâché on a deal base. It is strikingly similar to the surrounds for two pier glasses Chippendale provided for William Constable's town house and which are now at Burton Constable. When this frame was first acquired by the Society there was evidence of a lost cresting, probably an anthemion similar to those found on a number of Chippendale mirrors. The 7th Earl of Harewood provided a model from another documented example to enable a replica to be made.

This item is owned by The Chippendale Society. Explore the Society’s website and collections by clicking the external link below.


  • Title: India picture
  • Creator: Thomas Chippendale
  • Date Created: c.1771
  • Location Created: England
  • Physical Dimensions: 930mm x 121mm
  • Provenance: Harewood House; Christie’s 10 April 1986, lot 78; Wellington Antiques Inc; bought with a government grant and with the aid of contributions from the Monument Trust, June Sellin and an anonymous benefactor 1986
  • Subject Keywords: Chippendale
  • Type: Chinese wallpaper
  • Rights: The Chippendale Society LEEAG.CHIPSOC.1986.1
  • Medium: Handpainted paper, spruce and papier mache frame, gilded
  • External link: Explore the Chippendale Society's collection

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