The antique cabinets and other furnishings of the Judges Lodgings tell of lives of wealth and privilege – lives that are to be put under the spotlight in a new exhibition at the museum.
The oldest town house in Lancaster, the Judges’ Lodgings museum, is renowned for its impressive collection of Gillows furniture, much of it custom-made for the property during the Georgian era. It is obvious that objects like the Carlton House desk and the massive library table – a forerunner of the Victorian mahogany partners desk – were commissioned by people of great power and wealth.
Questions are being asked in Discovering Georgian Lancaster, which begins on 29th March when the museum reopens. Running conjointly with the Money, Money, Money exhibition at Lancaster Maritime Museum, it will look at every facet of life in the city, from the perspective of the prosperous Georgians who lived and worked there.
Gillow of Lancaster’s Georgian success story is fairly typical, combining top quality craftsmanship with innovative marketing techniques. The mahogany library table in the parlour is a case in point. The earliest Gillows piece with complete provenance, it copies a design by Thomas Chippendale, who was commissioned to supply furniture for Denton Hall. He considered the desk design too outdated to use, so Gillow took on the commission instead – and managed to slip in a billiard table complete with accessories as well.
The Judges’ Lodgings is well worth the drive from Cumbria, with antique dining tables , open bookcases and other pieces dripping in history. Antique dealers in Preston often have quality Georgian furniture for sale.
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