Moving Rooms: The Trade in Architectural Salvages

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Overview

Since at least Tudor times there have been architectural salvages: panelling, chimney pieces, doorways, or any fixtures and fittings might be removed from an old interior to be replaced by more fashionable ones. Not surprisingly a trade developed and architects, builders, masons, and sculptors sought out these salvages. By 1820 there was a growing profession of brokers and dealers in London, and a century later antique shops were commonplace throughout England.

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Overview

Since at least Tudor times there have been architectural salvages: panelling, chimney pieces, doorways, or any fixtures and fittings might be removed from an old interior to be replaced by more fashionable ones. Not surprisingly a trade developed and architects, builders, masons, and sculptors sought out these salvages. By 1820 there was a growing profession of brokers and dealers in London, and a century later antique shops were commonplace throughout England.

This fascinating book documents the break-up, sale, and re-use of salvages in Britain and America, where the fashion for so-called “Period Rooms” became a mainstay of the transatlantic trade. Much appreciated by museum visitors, period rooms have become something of a scholarly embarrassment, as research reveals that many were assembled from a variety of sources. One American embraced the trade as no other--the larger-than-life William Randolph Hearst--who purchased tens of thousands of architectural salvages between 1900 and 1935.

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Editorial Reviews

Maine Antique Digest - Jeanne Schinto

"Harris pulls no punches in his exhaustive investigation into Continental architecture salvages and how they came to be period rooms in museums and private homes."—Jeanne Schinto, Maine Antique Digest
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300124200
  • Publisher: Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art
  • Publication date: 9/28/2007
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

John Harris is Curator Emeritus of the Drawings Collection of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He is an architectural historian and the author of The Palladian Revival: Lord Burlington and His Villa at Chiswick and Sir William Chambers, both published by Yale University Press.

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Table of Contents

Prologue : a book is born

1 Salvaging the interior : 1500-1820 11

2 Salvage and a more amateur antiquarianism 21

3 Continental imports and the Wardour Street trade 37

4 England and the French connection 59

5 Interiors and a new professionalism : 1850-1950 69

6 The growth of a transatlantic trade in rooms and salvages 101

7 The period room in European museums 119

8 North American museums and the English room 147

9 Into American houses go English rooms 201

10 William Randolph Hearst, the great accumulator 219

Check-list of British rooms and salvages exported to the USA

App. 1 Charles Roberson of the Knightsbridge Halls

App. 2 The Paris firm of Carlhian et Cie, exporters of French rooms

App. 3 The Tryon memorandum

App. 4 The Sherborn note

App. 5 The Hearst sale

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  • Posted July 8, 2014

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