The project…

In 2012 the National Trust at Osterley began a new project to redisplay one of the show rooms.

Revealing its true colours                                                                   

In 2011, the Breakfast Room was used as a film set and painted grey.  Using money raised from the filming, we will be restoring the original colour scheme and re-displaying the room as closely as possible to its 18th century appearance.

Unlocking the past

Finding out what the Yellow Breakfast Room used to look like is a painstaking process. 

We will use a variety of sources;

  • paint scrapes will reveal what paint and paper was applied in the past
  • 18th century buildings like Nostell Priory may give us some clues
  • original receipts, architectural drawings and descriptions from 18th century visitors  

How yellow is a lemon?

In 1772, Agneta Yorke visited the House and described the Breakfast Room as “a lemon colour with blew ornaments”. 

The famous 18th century architect, Robert Adam designed much of Osterley’s decoration. The decoration of this room may pre-date him but yellow and blue were colours he regularly used. 

Adam used wall colour to off-set design features and as a backdrop for paintings.  He also linked the colours of walls, curtains and soft furnishings to tie his designs together. 

This research will help us understand more about the level of Adam’s involvement in the original design.


Profiling the experts

Here is an idea of what some of the experts working behind the scenes do;

  • NT adviser on historic interior decoration: researches historic interiors and mixes paint colours to recreate lost colour schemes
  • Senior research scientist: analyses paint samples and carries out theoretical and practical research into paint pigment recipes
  • NT curator: researches and advises on the display of objects, rooms and buildings

Updates will appear on this blog as the project progresses so keep in touch! 


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