A Chippendale table that’s ‘the epitome of light-hearted Chinoiserie design’, one of the National Trust’s greatest treasures

Our series looking at the National Trust's finest treasures takes aim at the Thomas Chippendale dressing table of Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire.

The National Trust’s collections are not only vast, but contain objects of astonishing beauty, quality and human interest. To coincide with the Trust’s 125 anniversary, we asked nine senior curators — including national experts in painting and sculpture, textiles, furniture and decorative arts — to choose their favourite object from among those in their care.

The Garrick Dressing Table by Thomas Chippendale, about 1775 at Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire

Chosen by Louisa Brouwer, curator, East of England

A masterpiece of 18th-century Japanned furniture, the Garrick Dressing Table, which was made by Thomas Chippendale for the Hampton villa of actor David Garrick and his wife, Eva, is the epitome of light-hearted Chinoiserie design.

Part of a full white and green bedroom suite, the table is decorated with mirthful scenes of figures, pagodas and exotic birds set within a bucolic landscape. Its tasteful ornamentation would have perfectly suited a villa designed for entertainment and escape.

The fitted interior of lidded wells and open compartments of the Garrick Dressing Table. Credit: National Trust Images/James Dobson

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Acquired by the 1st Lord Fair-haven for Anglesey Abbey, Cambridge-shire, Chippendale’s ‘Garrick Dressing Table’ is one of the standout — and most coveted — objects in my care.


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