The Designer’s Garden, Part II – The Bellflower

Trailing Bellflowers, also known as trailing husks, are a dainty and wonderful part of furniture in the eighteenth century and onwards. They are found predominantly in Neo-classical designs as a homage to Classicism. Encompassing many species under the family Campanulaceae, their Latin name signifies a little bell.

These flowers were also a favourite of Robert Adam who used these delicate trailing flowers in his architectural decoration and furniture in the latter part of the 18th century.

A Robert Adam ceiling at Osterley Park, England

An example of the use of this flower is a desk commissioned by John Martin (1724-1794) from Thomas Chippendale, circa 1773, for Ham Court in Worcestershire. The original was sold for $1,8 million in 2004.

"Chippendale Partners"

Trailing bellflowers are also an essential design component of this Intricate Adam Console. The original George III example dated to circa 1770 is attributed to Mayhew and Ince.  The largest competitors to Chippendale in the 18th century they created many of Robert Adam’s furniture designs.

This 'Intricate Adamesque Console' features hand veneered bellflowers to the top and legs

Trailing bellflowers are created using hand cut veneers and definition is added using a centuries old hot sand burning technique

Each leg of this ornate table is inlaid with the delicate bellflower motif

Credits: Robert Adam Ceiling image by Steve Cadman.

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