European Decorative Arts and Sculpture
Interior Architecture, possibly from Sutton Scarsdale Hall
1724-27 or 1740s?
Artist/maker unknown, English
1928-61-3Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Walter H. Lippincott, 1928
This interior is one of three rooms installed in the Museum said to have come from Sutton Scarsdale Hall, a grand country house in Derbyshire, England. The hall was built in 1724-27 for Nicholas Leake, fourth and last earl of Scarsdale, who hired the architect and master builder Francis Smith of Warwick (1672-1738). Craftsmen from throughout central England and abroad were brought to the site to finish the interiors, which were notable for their elaborate chimneypieces and stucco ceilings.
After the earl's death in 1736, the hall had various owners until it was bought in 1919 by speculators, who sold its interiors at public auction. (Today, the house survives only as an imposing ruin.) Museum Director Fiske Kimball purchased this room, and two others believed to be from Sutton Scarsdale Hall, from the well-known London firm Robersons with the intention of acquiring appropriate settings for the display of the Museum's important John Howard McFadden Collection of English paintings and for collections of English decorative arts.
Surviving documents make it impossible to ascertain that this interior comes from Sutton Scarsdale Hall. Moreover, the design of the fireplace and overmantel decoration raises doubts about this provenance since they are in a later style dating from the 1740s. When this room was purchased, its walls were unpainted, like those of the Museum's other two rooms said to have come from Sutton Scarsdale, but evidence survives that the wood here was formerly painted. The present color scheme is derived from the interior depicted by Arthur Devis (1712-1787) in his painting of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Bull of 1747.
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