Paxton House was awarded Recognised status yesterday by Museums Galleries Scotland, on behalf of the Scottish Government, for their Nationally Significant Collection of furniture by Thomas Chippendale the Elder and Younger and by William Trotter (and its associated archives). This newly Recognised collection is one of only 49 in Scotland and is a fantastic achievement for Paxton House in the Scottish Borders. The Trotter collection is the largest publicly accessible collection of his work in the world and the Chippendale collection is amongst the eight largest documented collection of the firm’s furniture in the UK and worldwide.
The comprehensive collection was created with the highest quality craftsmanship by Scotland’s most important cabinet maker, William Trotter, and by the internationally famous design and cabinetmaking firm of Thomas Chippendale, commissioned for Paxton House between 1774 and 1815. It contains many rare and unique items. The history of art and design can be studied through the changing styles of furniture including the late Rococo, Neo-classical designs with some French and Greek influences- and the Greek revival styles. It is integral to the social, cultural, and economic history of Scotland and to the international history of art and design.
Key pieces include the unique mahogany secretaire, the painted suite of bedroom furniture, and large pier glasses for the stunning Drawing Room, and the magnificent sideboard suite by Chippendale. The outstanding Trotter furniture includes a set of marble topped rosewood tables and a unique picture viewing sofa made for the Picture Gallery.
Ray Macfarlane, Chair of the Recognition Committee, said:
“Scotland’s Recognised Collections are some of the most interesting and diverse collections our country has to offer. I am delighted to welcome the internationally important Chippendale and Trotter Furniture Collection at Paxton House onto this list of Scotland’s must-see collections.”
Ian Marrian, Chairman of The Paxton Trust said:
“The Trustees of the Paxton Trust, and our Curator, Dr Fiona Salvesen Murrell, were thrilled to receive this accolade for our outstanding collection of Chippendale and Trotter furniture which is housed in a beautiful Adam designed mansion situated in extensive grounds on the banks of the River Tweed. We would be delighted to welcome more visitors to explore the treasures held by the Trust which also include wonderful paintings, 18th century costume, and decorative arts. It was particularly pleasurable to receive the award at the same time as the Scottish Regimental Museum Collection held by the Association of Scottish Military Museums which includes the King’s Own Scottish Borderers Regimental Museum.”
Having achieved Nationally Significant status for the collection, Paxton House is now focusing upon improving the access both to our visitors to the house and online with a specific focus on schools, families, tourists, and community outreach.
Joanne Orr, CEO of Museums Galleries Scotland, said:
“The Nationally Significant Collections reflect centuries of commitment to conserving and interpreting our past. Over its 10 year history, the Recognition Scheme has sought to improve the accessibly and longevity of the collections, as well as the long term sustainability of the organisations that hold them. The scheme is dynamic, and as our ideas of what’s important and significant continues to evolve, so too will Scotland’s Recognised Collections.”
Recognition will benefit our partnership with the Chippendale 300 Festival; a nationwide celebration of the tercentenary of Thomas Chippendale the Elder’s birth in 2018 www.chippendale300.co.uk . Paxton House will be holding a special Chippendale exhibition: The Paxton Style, ‘Neat & Substantially Good’: Chippendale furniture at Paxton House, its influences and legacy’, from the 5th of June to the 28th of August 2018. This exhibition will highlight the Paxton Style of Chippendale furniture, a significant element of the master cabinetmaker’s work with loans from private and public collections. There will be a series of lectures by Chippendale experts, furniture masterclasses, and family activities over the summer. The Paxton House team welcomes groups to visit and explore the house and the collections on display.