A few months ago, one of the regular readers of the Nostell Priory Conservation Blog requested that we have a post focusing on the escutcheons and handles that are a feature of our furniture. Escutcheons are the metal fastenings which surround the keyhole of a door, for a combination of protection and/or decoration.
More than happy to oblige, I spent some time walking around Nostell and taking photographs of some of the more interesting examples. Most were supplied by Thomas Chippendale.
It’s amazing what you see when you take time to look!
Prizes if you can guess which pieces of furniture they are from! (No prizes really…)
The three below hail from the Crimson Bedroom. They are a great example of how something so small can be quite beautiful.
Carved brass escutcheon
Chinese cabinet escutcheon
Ornate handle and escutcheon combination
From the chinoiserie furniture in the State Bedroom come the two examples below. The escutcheons are rather insignificant when you look at the lacquer decoration surrounding them. I particularly like the leopard/cheetah!
Chinoiserie handle and escutcheon
Chinoiserie cheetah/leopard, and escutcheon
Delicate double round handles in the Saloon, no escutcheon around the lock. Maybe this drawer wasn’t used very often? It’s from a beautiful lady’s writing table.
Lady’s Writing Table
I’m sure you can guess the object below…
Below is the super small door handle on the false door in the Library. It would have to be unnoticeable so that it wouldn’t detract from the overall effect when the disguised door was closed.
Library false door handle
Also in the Library, the huge writing desk…
Chippendale writing desk in the Library
The lower cupboards around the room also have no escutcheon (see below). This could be so that visitors’ attentions focused on the wealth displayed in the shelves upon shelves of books, rather than on other little details.
The Medal Cabinet, with a military row of vertical drawer handles:
Medal Cabinet row of drawer handles
What’s this piece of furniture, with no escutcheon around the lock? The picture next to it might give you a clue…
John Harrison longcase clock
It’s the John Harrison longcase clock! John Harrison is the gentleman in the photo to the left of the clock. Did you guess correctly?
An absolutely gorgeous ecutcheon below, extremely elaborate and decorative!
Elaborate Chinese escutcheon
And finally, for something completely different…
Roar! This chap is carved around the very large keyhole of a wooden chest. The whole chest is intricately carved, interesting to examine, and very heavy to move! It dates from the late 17th century.
We hope you’ve enjoyed having a closer look at some of the details on the furniture here at Nostell. If you have any requests for future blog posts, please let us know and we’ll write one for you!