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June 06, 2017
Importing the East.... West - Fine Regency Furniture Designs
Born in Amsterdam, in 1737, to a wealthy Scottish family, Thomas Hope was given every opportunity to learn about the arts and design and traveled extensively bringing great design ideas home. Hope was restless, working as a Merchant banker, author, philosopher, collector and interior designer. After all of his great success, he was best known for his 1819 novel “Anastasius”. Of course my favorite Hope fact is unrelated to his furniture designs... his family at one time owned "Le bleu de France", better known as the Hope Diamond.
At an early age he devoted himself and his money to the study of architecture in ancient civilizations. From 1787 until 1797, he traveled through Europe and the Near East extensively, with a particular interest in the Ottoman Empire. He brought back with him extraordinary treasures for his families collections.
Establishing himself in London, Hope became well known as a scholarly collector of art, an interior designer and a great patron of artists and craftsmen. After completing his home, (Dutchess Street, Cavendish Square) he published his new designs in a book “Household Furniture and Interior Decoration” in 1807. The book helped to establish him as one of the leading designers of his time and the book‘s illustrations helped establish and further refine “English Empire” or what is now known as the Regency Period of design.
Common elements in furniture from the Regency Period are slender elegant lines, less marquetry and more use of elegantly striking woods, such as Rosewood and Calamander, in addition to the still popular Mahogany. Hopes influence can best be noted in common embellishments of Egyptian motifs. For example, carved elements like Lion Heads and mythical Griffons and gilded bronze mounts of Sphinx.
I have posted various examples of his influential designs and I am proud to offer a very fine and rare pair of Regency Arm Chairs similar to ones in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.