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Leigh v Taylor [1902] AC 157

Madame de Falbe was the tenant for life of a mansion. She had placed some valuable tapestries in the mansion which were stretched on to hard match board and affixed to the walls by nails. They could be removed with slight disturbance to the walls. On Madame de Falbe’s death, the court were required to determine whether the tapestries had become fixtures belonging to the mansion or whether they remained chattels.

Held:

The tapestries remained chattels and did not form part of the mansion.

Earl of Halsbury LC:

“It never was intended to remain a part of the house; the contrary is evident from the very nature of the attachment, the extent and degree of which was as slight as the nature of the thing attached would admit of. Therefore, I come to the conclusion that this thing, put up for ornamentation and for the enjoyment of the person while occupying the house, is not under such circumstances as these part of the house. That is the problem one has to solve in each of these cases. If it is not part of the house, it falls under the rule now laid down for some centuries, that it is a sort of ornamental fixture, and can be removed by whoever has the right to the chattel - whose it was when it was originally put up.”

Back to lecture outline on fixtures and chattels in land law