May 302011
 

We hope you enjoy Part 2 of Thomas Hope & the Regency style, as the Beau Monde continues to discover parts of the Victoria and Albert Museum all Regency era fans will love.
Thomas Hope’s startling juxtaposition of styles included Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Indian elements, as well as his own version of the French Empire style. Classical sculpture and vases were displayed alongside modern paintings and sculpture. Most striking of all was the inventive and exotic furniture that Hope designed specifically for the house.

Greek krater-style copper vase patinated to imitate bronze, designed by Thomas Hope, England, 1802-03. Museum no. M.33-1983

Greek krater-style copper vase patinated to imitate bronze, designed by Thomas Hope, England, 1802-03. Museum no. M.33-1983

 

 

 

 

‘The Statue Gallery’, Plate 1, ‘Household Furniture & Interior Decoration’, by Thomas Hope, London, 1807. NAL Pressmark 57.Q.1'The Statue Gallery', Plate 1, 'Household Furniture & Interior Decoration', by Thomas Hope, London, 1807. NAL Pressmark 57.Q.1
 

 

 

 

‘The Vase Room’, Plate 4, ‘Household Furniture & Interior Decoration’, by Thomas Hope, London, UK, 1807. NAL Pressmark 57.Q.1'The Vase Room', Plate 1, 'Household Furniture & Interior Decoration', by Thomas Hope, London, UK, 1807. NAL Pressmark 57.Q.1

 

 

 

 

'The Aurora Room', Plate 7, 'Household Furniture & Interior Decoration', by Thomas Hope, London, UK, 1807. NAL Pressmark 57.Q.1

‘The Aurora Room’, Plate 7, ‘Household Furniture & Interior Decoration’, by Thomas Hope, London, UK, 1807. NAL Pressmark 57.Q.1

 

 

 

 

The Egyptian Room
The Egyptian Room was one of the most inventive interiors of its date in Europe. Here Hope displayed his belief in the importance of the ancient Egyptians to the origins of western culture.Mingling genuine pieces of Egyptian sculpture with exotic furniture designed by himself in an Egyptian manner, he also exploited his novel colour theories. The walls and furniture, he explained, were in the ‘pale yellow and bluish green of the Egyptian pigments, relieved by masses of black and of gold.’

The Statue Gallery
In the Statue Gallery, Hope placed his finest pieces of antique sculpture. The design was austere, with top-lighting, a coffered ceiling and yellow-painted walls. To avoid ‘interfering’ with the contour and purity of the white marble statues, Hope left the walls ‘perfectly plain’. Although Hope believed that many of the sculptures were Greek, they are now recognised as later Roman versions. In the past, critics decried these works as copies, but today Roman sculpture is seen as having value in its own right, as do the interventions of 18th century restorers. These restorations, seen in many of Hope’s antique statues, were the work of dealers catering for the Grand Tour market.

The Vase Room
There were four Vase Rooms at Duchess Street, in which Hope displayed his vast collection of Greek figured vases. The vases, he wrote, ‘relate chiefly to the Bacchanalian rites connected with the representations of mystic death and regeneration’. He therefore designed shelves and cabinets decorated with carved heads of the bearded Bacchus. Also, since many vases had been discovered in tombs near Naples, one room had ‘recesses, imitating the ancient Columbaria, or receptacles of Cinerary urns’. The exhibition features an interior that evokes the Vase Rooms at Duchess Street. The bronze lamp and mahogany display cupboard in this recreated interior came from the Third Vase Room, where furnishings ‘of a quiet hue and of a sepulchral cast’ matched the vases.

The Aurora Room
This theatrical interior was one of Hope’s most inventive and colourful creations at Duchess Street. Mirrors reflected the central feature – the statue of Aurora, goddess of dawn. The walls were hung with ‘satin curtains … of the fiery hue which fringes the clouds just before sunrise’, below ‘a ceiling of cooler sky blue.’ The colours used in the display are an attempt to reproduce faithfully the original decorative scheme. They are also based on surviving contemporary rooms, including those created by Sir John Soane, who visited Duchess Street in 1802.

  2 Responses to “Thomas Hope’s Regency Style from V & A Museum – Part 2”

  1. Thank you for your most interesting posts on Thomas Hope. It is nice to see him getting some of the attention he deserves for his design efforts.

    Thomas Hope also wrote a novel which was published in 1819, the last year of the Regency, about the adventures of a young Greek in the Middle East. Entitled Anastasius, for some time after its publication, many people thought it had been written by Lord Byron. In fact, Byron confessed to his friend, Lady Blessington, that the novel made him weep with jealously because he had not written it himself.

    Sadly, the Victorians found the novel much too racy for their delicate sensibilities, and it went out of print not long after Hope’s death. But it was certainly a topic of hot gossip during the last year of the Regency and into the first year of the new reign of King George IV. Of course, even then, respectable young ladies were forbidden to read it. Which did not mean they necessarily obeyed. 😉

    Regards,

    Kat

    • Kat,
      Thanks so much for sharing that wonderful piece of information about Thomas Hope.
      Anastasius sounds fascinating. Even more so if the Victorians found it too racy. Will definitely try to find a copy, and if you’d like to do a post on here, we’d all love it.
      Thanks,
      Suzi

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

(required)

(required)