Furniture curator is a chip off the Campbeltown block

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An artist schooled in Campbeltown has become part of the furniture at the world’s largest Thomas Chippendale collection.

Janet Casey, 28, a former Grammar school pupil, is set to maintain and oversee the largest known collection of the 18th-century furniture designer’s work.

In addition, Ms Casey will be responsible for the maintenance and preservation of the collection and artwork after being appointed as the new curator at Dumfries House in Ayrshire.

The Palladian country house, near Cumnock, remained untouched for 250 years before it was saved for the nation by HRH The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay in 2007.

It now operates as a tourist attraction and education hub, offering young people the opportunity to engage in learning experiences that promote confidence, personal development and training in real life skills.

Janet, who graduated with a degree in fine art from Dundee’s Duncan of Jordanstone college of art and design in 2012, said: ‘After I graduated, I went to work for The Fleming Collection in London.

Janet Casey the Dumfries House curator.
Janet Casey the Dumfries House curator.

‘Through my job, I was given the opportunity to visit Dumfries House regularly as The Fleming Collection loans paintings to Dumfries House.

‘I always enjoyed visiting and was impressed by the collection here.

‘I’ve always had an interest in Scottish art and the country house collections so was delighted when I was offered the curator position at Dumfries House.

‘It’s a spectacular place to work as we get so many visitors and there is always something new going on.

‘My favourite part of the job is working with the collection itself and spending time maintaining it in the morning when the house is quiet and still.

‘It’s my job to care for the collection so that it will last for another 250 years.’

During an approximately 47-year career Chippendale designed furniture which today commands the highest prices. In 2010 a Chippendale chest of drawers sold for £3.8 million.

The joiner’s son was born in West Yorkshire in 1718 and is thought to have learned his carpentry skills from his father.

In 1754 Chippendale  published a book of his designs, titled The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker’s Director.

From modest beginnings, Dumfries House is now the second-largest employer in East Ayrshire with more than 200 full-time and part-time staff across the house, estate and education and training programmes.