Work to uncover the original 18th century colour scheme for the Breakfast Room began in earnest this week. James Finlay, NT Advisor on Historic Interior Decoration and Ian Bristow, the advisor who worked on the Victoria and Albert Museum’s 1980s scheme, joined Lucy Porten (NT Regional Curator) and property staff to carry out an initial exploration of what lies beneath the existing paintwork.
- The imitation of what was believed to be the 18th century fillet is removed from above the dado rail to allow the existing decorative material to be lifted from the wall. Notice the blue paint work on the underside – this formed part of the colour scheme until mid-2011.
- The existing decorative material is lifted from the wall in a single sheet. This image shows the layers of paint and plaster that have been applied to the wall between 1949 and 2011. It includes a shade of green originally applied to the walls by the V&A in the 1950s.
- Under the sheet of decorative material, there is a Hessian covering – applied by the V&A in the 1950’s. Beneath this is plaster set within a solid timber frame. The timber frame contains nails which might have been used for attaching silk coverings to the wall at some point.
The next task will be paint analysis of the uncovered areas!