A group of objects with a provenance from Lyme Park, Cheshire, has just been accepted by HM Government in lieu of inheritance tax from Nicholas Legh and the Hon Mrs Simon Weinstock (formerly Laura Legh) and allocated to the National Trust for display at Lyme.
This munificent transfer comes right on time to add to the bounties of Easter. As it happens, this year the invaluable Acceptance in Lieu Scheme has been in existence for 100 years.
The allocation includes a set of mid-eighteenth-century mahogany chairs with their original needlework covers. The needlework is deliberately raised above the linen ground in imitation of cut velvet. Needlework was highly valued at this time, and was generally used on the best chairs in the most important rooms. However, savings were made by covering the backs with watered wool.
The chairs were originally acquired by Peter Legh XIII, who inherited Lyme in 1744. He also introduced the carved giltwood chandeliers and the Rococo girandoles to the Drawing Room. The early seventeenth-century panelling was transferred by him from another Legh property, Bradley in Lancashire – an early example of historicist decoration.