A piece of Lancashire’s Arts & Crafts furniture history is currently for sale – Withnell Fold Hall, near Chorley. Originally built in the 1860s by renowned Bradford architects Bradshaw and Gass, it plays a major role in the history of the Arts & Crafts movement in Lancashire.
The antique cabinets, Victorian dining chairs and other furniture will not be part of the fixtures and fittings, which is a pity as many of them would have been original to the design. Arts and Crafts architects planned the entire design, inside and out, including the furnishings. They incorporated carved wooden motifs, stained glass, elaborate plasterwork and specially commissioned furniture from acclaimed local craftsmen, to their own or the makers’ designs. For example, unstamped Gillows Victorian dining chairs, often found in Lancashire antique shops, usually originate from special commissions. Only those for general sale were branded with the Gillows metal stamp.
Withnell Fold Hall was commissioned by philanthropist and paper mill owner T.B. Parke. John Bradshaw Gass, an accomplished artist, undoubtedly had a hand in the interiors. The entire house is an Arts and Crafts masterclass of pre-Raphaelite stained glass windows, figured marble wall panels, intricate barrelled ceilings and built-in panelled antique cabinets.
This Lancashire masterpiece has a price tag of £5 million. However, the entire village of Withnell Fold was commissioned by Parke to house his mill workers, and other Victorian properties in the area are far more affordable. Wherever you live, antique dealers in Lancashire have Victorian dining chairs and Arts & Crafts furniture that is totally in keeping with the period.
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