• Press release
  • |
  • For immediate release
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  • 17 June 2019

RELEASE: Magnificent Ensemble of Tables and Mirrors by Thomas Chippendale Acquired for the Nation 

Negotiated Through the Acceptance in Lieu Scheme with the Assitance of Christie's

A pair of pier tables and pier glasses by Thomas Chippendale have been accepted in lieu of inheritance tax for the nation and allocated to the Victoria & Albert Museum. Through the Acceptance in Lieu in situ loan agreement with Harewood House Trust, the pieces will remain on public display in the Music Room at Harewood House, in harmony with other Chippendale pieces that were also part of the same initial commission for Edwin Lascelles, 1st Baron Harewood, to decorate Harewood House in 1767.

Ruth Cornett, Director, Heritage and Taxation Advisory Service, Christie’s: “It is immensely gratifying to know that this magnificent ensemble of neo-classical masterpieces by Thomas Chippendale will remain in public view in their historic context at Harewood House, joining the world’s most important collection of English furniture held by the V&A.

Thomas Chippendale (1718-1779), often referred to as ‘The Shakespeare of Furniture’ is regarded as the most celebrated and talented furniture-maker of 18th century England. The tables and glasses perfectly represent Chippendale’s powerful neo-classical craftsmanship.

The pier tables have rectangular tops with delicate marquetry, while the mirrors are striking and grand, in broad frames surmounted by fluted columns. Collectively, the ensemble represents a fine example of Chippendale’s status, recognition and creative ambition as a furniture-maker. 

Christie’s has been instrumental in the negotiation of this work to the nation.  For nearly 50 years, Christie’s Heritage & Taxation Advisory Service has built up extensive experience, helping numerous Christie's clients with transactions that have resulted in over 10,000 chattels of pre-eminent national interest being acquired by public museums, galleries or institutions, through a private treaty sale or in lieu of inheritance tax or other death duties.

The acceptance of this furniture settled £5,600,000 of tax.

Notes to editors

Full cataloguing:


The rectangular tops inlaid with paterae and foliage on a rosewood ground, on two-tone anthemion friezes centred by satyr masks, and square tapering legs joined by swags, partially regilded largely on the carved elements.

69 in. (175.26 cm.) wide; 34 in. (86.36 cm.) high; 30 in. (76.2 cm.) deep

Supplied by Thomas Chippendale (d. 1779) to Edwin Lascelles (d. 1795) for the Music Room at Harewood House, Yorkshire, where they are listed in the 1795 inventory: ‘2 Large Pier Tables with burnished Gold Frames & inlaid Tops’, and thence by descent.


The rectangular plates in broad anthemion frames, surmounted by fluted columns, scrolling acanthus and anthemion (the swags to the crestings perhaps lacking a section, the left mirror with defective left hand end to the swag).

Dimensions: 162in. x 70in

supplied with the pair of tables for the Music Room, circa 1771.

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