When visitors from Lancashire see the Open Bookcases, antique cabinets and other fine furniture of Harewood House, they are awestruck.
As one of the Treasure Houses of England, Harewood contains the largest Chippendale collection ever commissioned, and is also home to an astonishing collection of fine art by Giovanni Bellini, JMW Turner, Titian, Joshua Reynolds and other world- renowned artists.
Below stairs in the Servants’ Hall, Harewood becomes a lot quirkier; not because of the huge antique dining table and monasteric vaulted ceiling, but because of the David Usborne presentation, Objectivity; the art of useful things, which opened in February.
Harewood has a lively programme of events throughout the house, but this must be the first time its enormous Victorian kitchens have been used as a gallery for an art installation. However, it is the perfect place for Usborne’s unique exhibition, which explores the beauty of simple, functional things.
Unlike the Chippendale antique mahogany pedestal desk that Cumbrian visitors see upstairs, however, the objects were never intended to have any aesthetic value – they were meant to be used, not admired.
Usborne deconstructs this argument with his unique display of over 100 ‘accidental masterpieces’, all of which – such as the exotic-looking turbine blade mould – do serve a useful purpose but have been chosen for their visual interest. The sense of puzzlement each object generates only adds to the interest.
Antique dealers in Lancashire specialise in furniture, such as antique balloon backed dining chairs and Victorian mahogany pedestal desks , which Preston customers will easily find a use for, both as a beautiful display piece and a useful household item.