14 July 2020
Visitor Assistant Andrew Smith takes a closer look at some of the furniture in the Kettle’s Yard House.
Jim Ede was rather pleased to have bought this tired corner cupboard for just £10, including delivery, in 1969. He bought it from Stockbridge’s, which was a large antique shop on Bridge Street where Café Rouge now stands. Robert Williams, who worked for Stockbridge’s as a young man, remembers ‘struggling down the passageway” with his colleague Michael Brown to convey it to a new home in the lower extension at Kettle’s Yard.
Made around 1770 / 1780 this cupboard would originally have had doors over the open shelves of the upper section. Sometimes referred to as a ‘buffet’ it would have served the same function as a dresser. In the 20th century someone brought it ‘up-to-date’ by the removal of the doors and giving it a couple of coats of gloss white paint. One of the remaining lower doors has been fitted with a plastic knob, probably from the 1960s, which in turn has been plastered with paint.
Jim Ede commented, “I felt sure that, by cutting it here and there, I could fit it into this corner where it has become a living point in the room emphasising the fine lighting of the room.” It now displays a collection of ceramics, mostly Copeland and Garrett dating from around 1820, and various other curios. It reflects the cottage-like character of the older parts of the House, and helps ‘humanise’ what could have been an overly formal part of Kettle’s Yard.
It’s a tribute to Jim’s ‘eye’, that he could envisage exactly how it would contribute to the character of the extension. As a financial investment though, a bit of a dud. Jim paid ten pounds; but if it went to auction today we’d be lucky to get a bid.