18 Aug 2019
February 6, 2013 - Filed under: Antique Bookcases — Harriet

A striking antique mahogany partners desk is just one of the things Lancashire residents see when they visit Pitzhanger Manor in West London – where an £8m conservation project is about to get under way.

People usually associate Ealing with the famous film studios where parts of Downton Abbey were filmed. Just down the road is a site of real historical interest – Pitzhanger Manor, which for 10 years was the country retreat of Neo-classical architect Sir John Soane. He lived there from 1800 to 1810, during which time he virtually rebuilt the place, demolishing the original 17th century structure and most of the 18th century wing that his predecessor, George Dance, built.

The manor became a public library when it was purchased by Ealing Borough Council in the 1900s. Now co-managed by Pitzhanger Manor trust, it was extensively restored to Soane’s original vision in the late 1980s, since when it has been a public museum, exhibition space and function venue.

The early Victorian mahogany partners desk that Cumbrian visitors see in the Breakfast Room today is used to sign wedding registers. Like the antique dining tables and open bookcases, it is proof of the enduring functionality of antique furniture. However, all this will be going under wraps early in 2014, when the house will be closed while it is transformed into a major cultural venue. Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, founder of the Pitzhanger Manor Trust, said:

“It will […] become an intriguing historic destination for lovers of art and architecture from all over London, the UK and beyond.”

Meanwhile, Regency period antique desks can be seen at Lancashire’s antique dealers.

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