November 07 2009
Bettina von Hase
One night during the recent London Design Festival I was invited to dinner in a furniture shop called HRW Antiques in Parsons Green, west London, where I spotted some fine examples of work from the Marquess of Cholmondeley’s furniture company. David Cholmondeley is actually a film-maker, who recently got married and had twins with his wife Rose; but he found time to show a group of guests what the workshop (founded in 2003) based at his ancestral home Houghton Hall is capable of.
Houghton is one of the greatest 18th-century houses in England, and the pieces are all based on original designs, remade in the best quality and at reasonable prices (from £850 to £5,000). Best items were the side table with rectangular tops and moulded borders; the Kent seat (£5,300), with scrolled armrests originally designed by William Kent; the bedside cabinet from an early 18th-century model (picture one, £1,100), with a drawer beneath the balustraded top and a small cupboard below; and the Cholmondeley bench (picture two, £1,900), based on 19th-century models in the walled gardens at Houghton. (Also shown: picture three, dining chair, £950.) They were all admired by the likes of actress Rachel Ward, Sue Crewe, editor of House & Garden, and interior designer Camilla Guinness.