Illuminating interior

Illuminating interior

Curator Jenny McKellar discusses rare remnants of a painted and gilded Modern Gothic panelled room designed by the architect George Frederick Bodley and painted and designed by Charles Eamer Kempe and William Maynard Shaw.

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The Bodley Panelling is a set of oak panels which originated from Edward Stanley Heywood’s home, Light Oaks, in Pendleton, Salford. Apart from a settle displayed at Wightwick Manor, West Midlands, the panelling is all that remains of the house designed by John Edgar Gregan in 1855 and remodelled by the architect George Frederick Bodley and Charles Eamer Kempe in 1868. It is a rare example of a domestic collaboration between Bodley and Kempe who predominantly worked on ecclesiastical commissions.

In 1981, Manchester Art Gallery purchased the panelling using money from the Stuart Platt Memorial Fund, established to commemorate the former Assistant Keeper at Heaton Hall. When it was acquired, the panelling was considered for display at Fletcher Moss Museum, Didsbury. This was never realised however and the panelling has remained in store. Conservation work to stabilise the fragile painted panels on the overmantel (originally positioned over the mantelpiece) is due to take place in June.

This work has been generously funded by the Kempe Trust and you can follow the story of the conservation of the panels here.

Discover more about Manchester Art Gallery Furniture Review.