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  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1820-1830 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Hopper, Thomas, born 1776 - died 1856 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved oak

  • Museum number:

    W.35:1 to 6-1980

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Object Type
Although this wardrobe looks very unusual, it has a conventional fitted interior. The original sliding trays have been replaced by a hanging rail, below which there are sets of drawers.

Two Norman Revival style castles designed by the same architect were built in the 1820s. Gosford Castle, County Armagh, Northern Ireland, was built in granite in 1819-1820, for Archibald Acheson, 2nd Earl of Gosford (1776-1849), whose wife was an heiress. Penrhyn Castle, Bangor, North Wales, was built in stone, 1821-1841, for George Dawkins Pennant (1764-1840), who made his fortune from slate quarries. While Penrhyn survives, with much of the original furnishings intact, the contents of Gosford were sold in 1921. This wardrobe was probably made for Gosford, since it does not resemble any of the Penrhyn furniture.

Thomas Hopper (1776-1856) trained as a surveyor, and his first major commission was the Gothic Conservatory he added to Carlton House, London, 1807, for the Prince Regent. He established himself as a country house architect, working in various styles, including the fashionable Greek Revival at Leigh Court, Somerset, in 1814. Admired for his Norman-style castles of Gosford and Penryhn, he may also have designed the large amount of furniture required, which probably included this wardrobe.

Physical description

The front is in the form of a concentric rounded arches, decorated with variations on zig-zag carving and roll mouldings, supported by columns with incised decoration. Animal figures in the spandrels and figurative decoration underneath arch. Overhanging cornice and deep pediment. Decoration uses rustication (carving which imitates deeply cut stonework). The heavily decorated front of the wardrobe is formed of two doors which open to reveal a conventional interior, similar to those in eighteenth-century clothes presses. The upper section of the interior is fitted for sliding trays, which no longer survive, and a later hanging rail has been inserted. Underneath are two short and two long drawers.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


1820-1830 (made)


Hopper, Thomas, born 1776 - died 1856 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Carved oak


Height: 226 cm, Width: 166 cm, Depth: 81 cm

Object history note

When acquired in 1980 this wardrobe was thought to have been designed by Thomas Hopper for Penrhyn Castle, Bagnor, North Wales. However the style of the wardrobe is quite different to that of the surviving furniture at Penrhyn and it may have been made for one of the Norman Revival castles built in Ireland. One possibility is Gosford Castle, Co. Armagh, Northern Ireland, designed by Hopper for the 2nd Earl of Gosford and built 1819-20. A later commission, Glenstal Castle, Moroe, Co. Limerick, originally designed by William Bardwell for Matthew Barrington, was built from 1838 but not completed until after 1849. No records have been found so far to confirm the orginal provenance of the wardrobe.

Purchased from Mount Street Galleries, London.

The wardrobe was owned by the dealer, Christopher Gibbs, who bought it in about 1958 from another dealer, Terence Morse. Gibbs had the wardrobe in his flat at 100 Cheyne Walk, London, before selling it to Mick Jagger for his house, Stargroves, East End, Newbury.

Historical context note

The architect Thomas Hopper is particularly associated with Norman Revival interiors and furniture. He established his medieval credentials with the gothic conservatory he added, 1807-9, at Carlton House, London for the Prince Regent. Although he had an extensive practice as a country house architect, working in a variety of styles, perhaps his most interesting works were the two Norman Revival castles he designed. Gosford Castle, Co. Armagh, Northen Ireland, which was built 1819-20 for the 2nd Earl of Gosford (1776-1849), was the first Norman Revival castle in the British Isles. Penrhyn Castle, Bagnor, North Wales, was contructed between 1821 and 1841, was commissioned by George Dawkins Pennant (1764-1840) who made his fortune from slate quarries. The contents of Gosford were dispersed in the early 20th century but many of the original furnishings survive at Penrhyn under the care of the National Trust.

Descriptive line

Wardrobe, oak, carved; possibly designed by Thomas Hopper, Briitsh 1820-1830

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Wilk, Christopher, ed. . Western Furniture 1350 to the Present Day. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1996. 230p., ill. ISBN 085667463X.

Labels and date

British Galleries:
In the early 19th century, the massive Norman or Romanesque style was less popular than the Gothic, possibly because it was less easy to adapt to modern purposes. This wardrobe takes the form of a Norman doorway, combined with elements of a window opening. It was probably made for the Norman-style Gosford Castle in County Armagh, Northern Ireland. [27/03/2003]





Subjects depicted

Rustication; Arches; Geometric patterns; Animals; Zigzags


ELISE; British Galleries; Furniture


Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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