Chip Off The Old Block

Last week’s Probus talk was a cracker! For those members who missed it, the subject was marquetry – not ‘The Common Marquet’, but applying wood veneer in decorative patterns to classical furniture.

Jack Metcalfe’s post retirement ‘hobby’ turned into a high intensity ‘obsession’ to replicate some of the wonderful work of local cabinet maker Thomas Chippendale, whose largest commission was to fit out Harewood House with his wonderful classic furniture.

Jack gave us a spectacular presentation and talk of ‘Marquetry 101’, and his journey to understand and master the techniques of using the different hardwoods, fretsaws, glues and stains.
His slides showed the original Chippendale pieces and his replicas, beautifully detailed and colourful – as they were when new in the 1700s. Jack committed years of work to complete each superb piece.
I’m looking forward to visiting Newby Hall and Harewood House before the end of September when exhibitions of both originals and Jack’s replicas are celebrating the 300th anniversary of his birth.
One ‘takeaway’ from this excellent talk actually came from a Probus member, heard after the talk ruefully commenting that he felt that he’d wasted his own retirement when compared with Jack’s!
Me too, but I know that my DIY would always be a good deal more primitive than either Thomas’s or Jack’s works of art!

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