Holkham Hall inspires The New Craftsmen makers

Five makers from The New Craftsmen were inspired by Norfolk’s Holkham Hall and its grounds for an eclectic range of hand-crafted pieces

Dark green cabinet and red chair against a red wall
‘Venus Cabinet’, £12,760, by Alfred Newall. ‘Jupiter’s Chair’, £6,990, by Mac Collins
(Image credit: press)

Five makers from The New Craftsmen have been inspired by north Norfolk’s Holkham Hall to create a new collection of pieces that draw on the rich history of the 18th-century house and its 25,000 acres of surrounding grounds.

Alfred Newall, Arjan Van Dal, James Rigler, Laura Carlin and Mac Collins completed a residency at the estate earlier this year, absorbing details of the house, the grounds, and the characters that have shaped the property’s history. The resulting collection of pieces, entitled ‘A Portrait of Place’, will be on display at The New Craftsmen showroom in Mayfair throughout London Design Festival. 

The pieces marry the craft traditions of the estate with the rich colour palettes and wild nature of its grounds, with each maker reinterpretating a strand of the estate’s history which most interested them.

Green cabinet in an ornate room

‘Venus Cabinet’, £12,760, by Alfred Newall. 

(Image credit: Harry Crowder)

For Sussex-based designer Alfred Newall, the ‘cabinet’ was the focus. Traditionally a room situated next to a bedroom, rather than a piece of furniture, its purpose changed over time to become a compact space to store special items. Newall was inspired by the 18th-century lacquered chests in the Holkham Hall bedrooms, and his ‘Venus Cabinet’ draws on classical associations in its deep green hue – the colour traditionally linked with Venus.

coloured cermaic vases against an ornate background

‘Holkham Series’, from £2,690, by Arjan Van Dal. 

(Image credit: Harry Crowder)

Arjan Van Dal crafts sensual forms in ceramic for a collection that looks to Holkham Hall’s imposing silhouette when viewed against a wide expanse of sky. Local clay – also used to build the bricks for the hall – forms the basis of his tactile collection of sculptures and vessels, cast in vivid colours that reflect the hall’s silk wall hangings and tapestries.

red table and chairs below a chandelier

‘Jupiter’s Side Table’, £2,300; ‘Jupiter’s Chair’, £6,990, both by Mac Collins

(Image credit: Harry Crowder)

Colour is also integral to the work of Mac Collins (winner of the Emerging Design Medal in the 2021 London Design Medals), who looked to a Roman statue of Jupiter found in Holkham Hall’s grounds for his ‘Jupiter’s Chair’ and ‘Jupiter’s Side Table’.

Collins was intrigued by the possibilities of Jupiter’s pose, creating a chair and table to accommodate him, should he have wished to recline. The deep red reflects the property’s sumptuous silk walls.

Gold table and flaming ball

‘Wild Beast Table’, £8,020; ‘Comet Light’, £1,620, both by James Rigler

(Image credit: press)

James Rigler looks to both sculptures and neoclassical pieces, classical statues and their plaster copies for works that toy with our perceptions.

A mischievous cultural retelling casts pieces in clay, which are then gilded in gold leaf and lacquered.

Dark mirror on a green curtain

‘Midwinter Mirror’, £8,200; ‘Summer Versus Winter Vessel’, £6,950, both by Laura Carlin

(Image credit: press)

Laura Carlin was inspired by the Holkham Hall’s grounds for her mirror and ceramic pieces, which reflect the estate’s abundance of birds – hers are cast in patinated bronze, flocking to the smooth surface of the mirror.


‘A Portrait of Place’ is exhibted at The New Craftsmen showroom during London Design Festival (18 – 26 September) and available to purchase online



The New Craftsmen
34 N Row


Hannah Silver is the Art, Culture, Watches & Jewellery Editor of Wallpaper*. Since joining in 2019, she has overseen offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, and written extensively across the worlds of culture and luxury. She enjoys meeting artists and designers, viewing exhibitions and conducting interviews on her frequent travels.