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Faking Gothic Furniture

  • Chetham's Library

Performers

with Dr Peter Lindfield

Chetham’s Library with Manchester Gothic Festival

George Shaw (1810–76), a local lad from Uppermill, Saddleworth, was fascinated by medieval architecture, sculpture, and heraldry even as a teenager. In the 1840s this interest took a dark turn: instead of undertaking sober antiquarian studies of local families, architectural fragments, and material culture, he used his knowledge of the medieval to create mock Tudor and Elizabethan furniture for the Duke of Northumberland, the Earls of Bedford and Derby, and also Chetham’s. Most of this fake furniture was actually based upon one genuine piece of medieval woodwork: the State Bed of Henry VII originally made for the Painted Chamber, Palace of Westminster. This lecture looks at the origins of Shaw’s Gothic forgeries, and shows how harmless antiquarian enquiry turned into a business based upon deceit. There will be time after the lecture to inspect some of Shaw’s furniture, held at Chetham’s Library.

Offered as a free event thanks to the support of  Gothic Manchester Festival

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