The transformation of Northumberland House : interior decoration and furniture for the Third Duke of Northumberland by Nicholas Morel and Robert Hughes
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This thesis introduces the characters of the Third Duke and Duchess of Northumberland, who commissioned much work from Nicholas Morel and Robert Hughes for Northumberland House between 1822-1825. It then reviews works by Morel and Hughes between 1805 and 1822, their fashionable business, and the association with the Prince of Wales which influenced this commission. A summary of the building history of Northumberland House explains its state as inherited by the Third Duke in 1817. External works and related internal restructuring aimed to create a property reflecting the Duke's wealth and elevated social status whilst retaining earlier alterations. The suite of state apartments on the newly-modified south side of the house, for which Morel and Hughes designed furniture and furnishings, is described with reference to works of contemporary craftsmen, Thomas Grundy, William Croggon, William Collins, Robert Jones and Thomas Ponsonby. Analysis follows of accounts for furniture supplied by Morel and Hughes between 1822 and 1825. Each room and its furniture, often with exact locations, is described. This, combined with interior photographs circa 1874, helps create a picture of Regency splendour. The Morel and Hughes commission is examined, highlighting the importance of textiles in Regency England, with sections on wall hangings, window curtains and draperies, upholstery and passementerie and floor coverings. In 1826 Morel left the partnership, joining George Seddon. Robert Hughes, however, continued to work for the Third Duke until 1842 and examination of his accounts reveals seasonal work opening and closing Northumberland House and the supply of some new furniture. Analysis is made of major commissions by the Third Duke and Duchess in 1827 and 1832 of Hughes for work at Syon House. Reference is made throughout to items of furniture and textiles surviving in the collection of the Duke of Northumberland, and a detailed illustrated catalogue concludes.
Thesis, MPhil Master of Philosophy
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