Successive generations of the Ridgely family at Hampton bought quantities of the finest furniture to fill the large Mansion. Surviving furnishings are extensive and cover all periods of occupancy of the house, from the Revolution to the early 20th century.Most of the furniture was made in Baltimore, a city famous for the high quality and sophistication of its cabinetmaking. Others were made in other American cities and in England. There is also a small but significant group of Chinese exportware, pieces made in China for the export trade in the 19th century. These feature surfaces embellished with intricate lacquer work and gilding.
The furniture on view here is arranged by style and date, beginning with a few rare examples in the Chippendale style from the late 18th century. The more numerous pieces in the Federal (or Early Neoclassical) style are grouped to show objects suitable for a Parlor and a Bedchamber. The Late Neoclassical or Empire style examples are grouped as Dining Room and Drawing Room furnishings. Both the Federal and Empire styles show the inspiration of designs from classical antiquity, as filtered through England and France. Hampton's collection has Late Neoclassical pieces, many acquired by Charles Carnan Ridgely around the time of a major renovation of the Dining Room in the eighteen teens.
The Mansion includes Neoclassical style furnishings with painted surfaces. Painted or "fancy" furniture was in vogue in the U.S. for four decades in the early 19th century. Hampton's collection has some of the finest painted furniture surviving in America, especially the documented work of John Finlay. This Baltimore craftsman, renowned for making furniture for the White House in 1809, was patronized by two generations of Ridgelys.